Thomas Jefferson’s “Declaration of Independence”
Released on July 4th 1776, the Declaration of Independence announced the decision to declare war and proclaim independence against the colonies’ mother country, Great Britain. Although very short, the Declaration is very concise and its purposes clear: pledging unity and declaring independence. The Declaration opens with a preamble supported by religious references explaining why the colonies have overthrown their ruler and chosen to take their place as a separate nation in the world. “All men are created equal” and there are certain “unalienable rights” that governments should never violate. These rights include the ”right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” When a government fails to protect those rights, it is the duty of the people to overthrow that government and establish one of their own. Although governments are rarely overthrown, a long history of abuses has led the colonists to view it as necessary to overthrow King George III’s tyrannical government. Thomas Jefferson listed 27 grievances committed by the King, emphasizing the violation of liberties and order. After many failed attempts at peaceful reconciliation, the colonists had no choice but to declare independence from Great Britain. The new nation, United States of America, would be sovereignly governed. Jefferson addressed the document to the world and presented its argument as common sense through concepts that all the colonists and people of the world could understand with its basis founded upon religious beliefs and common political works read at the time. Through religious imagery, Jefferson incorporated mostly pathos and logos to persuade his audience of America’s right to independence. First of all, pathos was used to persuade the reader, as many of the intended audience were religious. During the 18th century, every household has a bible and the religious climate at the time was very strong. Taking the environment into...
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