A Comparison of the Declaration of Independence and Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions

Perhaps one of the most important documents in our country’s history is the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson. It was this piece of writing that officially broke the thirteen colonies away from England and prompted action in the creation of a new government. In a similar document titled “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions” that borrows Jefferson’s method of delivery, Elizabeth Stanton calls for equal treatment and opportunities for women. Despite mimicking the style of the highly revered Declaration of Independence, Stanton is unable to initiate the magnitude of response the former created, let alone at all. Her document, instead of being the action, is simply calling for the action of people with similar ideals.

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When reading “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions,” the first thing one notices is the similarity to the Declaration of Independence. The first paragraph is almost exactly the same, as is the second paragraph. At first, it seems like Stanton will be effective in strengthening her purpose because of this. However, the one of the first few changes she makes to the declaration clearly shows the direction of her paper: “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men and women are created equal” (Stanton). Now, the reader knows that her document will focus on equality. After this, her paper shifts to list all grievances that men have and continued to commit against women. The tone shifts from authoritative to sympathetic. By alluding to Jefferson’s list of the king’s wrongs, Stanton creates empathy in the reader. They are now taking sides, convinced of the wrong that is taking place. Despite this, Stanton is unable to keep this commitment through the end of the document. After finishing the list of grievances, Stanton simply asks the reader to support the cause of equal rights. At this point, the reader realizes nothing will take place immediately, or maybe even at all. She writes, “We insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States” (Stanton). Although them message and purpose have been conveyed, there is a lack of finality. This document is merely a petition and does not begin a course of action to fix the problem. Rather, it is using the style of Jefferson to raise awareness about the importance of equal rights and asks only to be “followed by a series of conventions embracing every part of the country” (Stanton).

The wording used in the Declaration of Independence was “solemnly publish and declare” (Jefferson). It is much more obvious that action is being taken because of this document, and not just asking the reader for support. It’s explaining why the course chosen was chosen, but “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions” is only suggesting the course the nation takes.

All in all, Stanton’s and Jefferson’s declarations are very similar in style, but at the core are very different. Stanton imitates the style of the Declaration of Independence in her work “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions” in hopes that it will further convey her idea of the necessity of equality. She is successful in convincing the reader of this need, and parts of the document almost verbatim from Jefferson’s catch the reader’s attention, but that is the only thing that happens. Choosing this style worked for Stanton in showing the need for a solution, but unlike the Declaration of Independence, it didn’t provide one. It leaves the readers with a cry for help but no concrete way to solve the problem. In this way, her imitation of Jefferson’s writing only did half of the job she intended.

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A Comparison of the Declaration of Independence and Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions. (2022, Sep 30). Retrieved December 3, 2022 , from
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