Declaration of Independence- Argument and Rhetoric Assignment

Declaration of Independence- Argument and Rhetoric Assignment Words: 500

The writers of the Declaration of Independence used many techniques to enhance the meaning of this historic document. The writers start off by establishing their ethical standing; that they are reasonable and honorable men (they do this by acknowledging that they need to explain to everyone the reasons for their actions. ) The also state the purpose of the document; why the colonists want to separate themselves from the British Crown. They continue onto the next paragraph and state their beliefs. I noticed syntax in the second paragraph. The word “that” is repeated so their fundamental beliefs are loud and clear.

They argue that when the government fails to protect the rights of the people, the people have a right to overthrow that government “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations… is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government… Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. ” As you can see, logic leads them to the choice of overthrowing the government. The body of the document is full of logos; proof the writers have provided in which the British government and the King have deprived the colonists of their rights.

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Throughout most of the document, the writers appeal to pathos through the negative words they use in their list of the things the King has done wrong. For example, “He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. ” A little later into the document, ethos is evident. “In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. ” Here, the writers are trying to make it clear that they didn’t have any intentions to become independent.

The writers then continue with pathos. “A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. ” The King left them no choice, his unfair treatment had reached a point of no further forgiveness. I noticed that when the writers wrote about King George and his actions, the diction used was very negative and critical. For example, “He has refused… He has forbidden… He has dissolved… He has obstructed… For cutting off… For depriving us… For taking away…” ect.

Finally, the document ends with diction/syntax. “…We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. ” The signers are portrayed as men who will risk anything to support the rights of man that were established by God. Overall, the writers do a good job in using ethos, (they are reasonable and honorable men) pathos, (they have proven the outrages of the King and the government) and logos (they state their beliefs and prove that the King has deprived them of their rights).

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Declaration of Independence- Argument and Rhetoric Assignment. (2020, Jun 21). Retrieved May 17, 2022, from