The Declaration of Independence uses rhetorical devices, such as logos, pathos, and ethos, to justify and define the American people as an entirely separate populace. The precise language paved the way for the freedoms that Americans enjoy today. Thomas Jefferson appeals to the audience’s sense of reason through his use of logos. He presents a clear argument that justifies the American desire to become an independent and free nation by listing the King’s specific offenses against the colonies, such as He has refused to Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. and highlights the shortcomings of British leadership, …the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations As a result of the detailed list of the King’s injustices, Jefferson is able to present a contrasting argument that relies on a logical? cause and effect’ stance and convincingly justifies the need to declare independence from Britain.
The construction of the Declaration of Independence also appeals to one’s emotions through Jefferson’s precise use of pathos. By concentrating the emotional side of the argument on self-evident truths, such as …that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain, unalienable Rights Jefferson is able to inspire his audience to fight for their deserved freedom. Additionally, his writing is driven by a passionate and rallying tone throughout the document, which helps to encourage the audience to approach their independence with similar intensity. Jefferson’s use of pronouns throughout the Declaration promotes an?Us v.s. Them’ mentality, specifically by defining the American population as one people and Britain as another. This technique creates an emotional response that causes the audience to view British leadership only as an enemy, further justifying the need for independence.
Thomas Jefferson’s strong use of ethos creates a credible stance for the entire Declaration. At the beginning of the document, he acknowledges those who doubt the American vision of independence, …a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. By recognizing the counterargument, including the injustices committed by Britain’s leaders, Jefferson is able to create a stronger position that worsens the King’s credibility while strengthening his own reputation. In conclusion, the Declaration of Independence uses convincing techniques of logos, pathos, and ethos to justify the need for American independence. Jefferson’s convincing use of these techniques changed the way that the world viewed personal liberty, independence, and freedom, and ultimately created the American values that citizens honor today.
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