Let us take, for example, two pieces of literature, The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, and A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. Which one has had more of an influence on society? The obvious answer is The Declaration of Independence, because it is what we now live our lives by and changed an entire nation. Let's take a closer look at why I believe the Declaration of Independence is a much better essay. Was it that Thomas Jefferson was more intelligent, or respected as an author? Was it the fact that he was hired by political officials to write this document? Or, was it the style in which it was written? That last question may bring about further inquisition.
Jefferson had attended the College of William and Mary, briefly been a lawyer, was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses, and also had been a delegate of the Continental Congress. He was asked to write the charter because of his ability as a writer. Swift was also highly educated and widely acknowledged. He graduated from Trinity College, got his masters at Oxford, and spent some time as a priest. Besides religion, he was also active in politics, writing pamphlets and newsletters at one time for the Tory Party. By this information alone, you could conclude that Swift's ideas might be more credited. So why, then, are we all so much more familiar with The Declaration of Independence than Swift's A Modest Proposal?
First off, I would like to point out that The Declaration of Independence was written by a group of intelligent citizens, as opposed to just one person. They all conversed on what would be good or