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Comparison of Jonathan Swift to Thomas Jefferson writing styles

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Argument is an important activity in the advancement of knowledge and society. There are many ways to express your self in this world, art, music, writing, speaking, etc. Within those things are countless approaches to getting your point across, or defending your side of an argument. Some of these methods are more effective at showing others that your way is the right way.

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 bad to write, and how to approach this task. It was written for a country, to protect individual rights, not as a story or as a personal opinion.

The Declaration of Independence was addressed to the people by the people, and for the people, even though those who wrote it were an elite part of high class society. The fact that common citizens were being spoken to as equals by these near celebrities of their time, will grab their initial attention. Secondly, this is being written to protect the rights of everyday civilians, which is a worthy cause, and should be taken serious note of. Jefferson attests that the government will be established by the governed, and if it gets too powerful or destructive, we are the ones who can change or abolish it. Once again, nothing can be found there to disagree with. He then brings up the current King of Great Britain, and shows how he has been insufficient as a ruler, the disregard for the colonies laws, and unjust levies. These facts establish truth in his publication. His writing is reassuring, and appears to be for nothing if not the good of the individuals. The innocent optimism is a good strategy to convince people that your side is the right side. Furthermore, Thomas Jefferson signs his name to The Declaration of Independence hence putting his own and others that sign the document lives in danger. That act makes the document get a sense of authentication.

Now Swift’s Approach may have a different effect on people. He does start off with brutal truths about the poverty in Ireland and its effects on society. Although dim, they still are truths, and they bring about the concern for some sort of agenda to fix this growing problem. As we read on, the first few paragraphs seem to have a disturbing, but educated view on the poor people of this society. He seems to have done his research. When Swift dictates that after one year the newborn child becomes an additional expense to the already beggar parents and promises that he has found a way to, not only abolish that charge, but make it into a profit, one might be reading with their hopeful eyes wide open. The further you read the more interested you get. That is, of course, until he actually reveals his proposal. Eating children is not only cruel and disgusting, but also unreasonable, absurd, and inconceivable.

You may also wonder just how he knows how tasty the child’s flesh is when cooked and served. After reading just one paragraph of this, you may feel nauseous, and feel that the problem is cureless. His radicalism has turned a vast majority of readers off right there. After having read that, who would want to go even further to find out what grotesque declaration is next? Well I did, and although he is a highly intellectual man, you just could not take him seriously, even if he had meant it that way. Women wearing baby skin gloves, is like a scene out of a gory horror movie. The rich indulging in baby roast dinners, paying good money for the fattest or plumpest child, women competing like animals to see who could produce the best feed is vulgar and profane. Anyone reading this publication is going to toss it away in utter abhorrence for this writer, whether or not they had liked him previously. This is obviously not an effective method of argument.

There are ways to present your case, and there are ways to immediately turn your work into litter on the street. I think we can all figure out who used what approach. The biggest disadvantage Swift faces in my opinion is that his ideas are so far of the wall that many people will think of it as a joke about a serious problem. Furthermore, making light of this situation will give people the idea that the problem is to big to address, or is not important enough to care about.

You must include facts as to why you are putting this idea forward, and those facts must be accurate and relevant. Even though Swift gives accurate and studied information, none of it is realistic and at no point in the essay does even give a faint realistic resolution. Swift needed to approach the issue from both sides of the battle, and “deal not only with issues that he consider relevant, but also with matters that have been raised by your opponents. This way he can shows how badly things have gotten, and what steps could be taken by both sides. Shift should have tried to appeal to all sides so that they can approach the story with an unbiased mindset. Swift needed to provide the proper evidence, reasoning, allegations and appeals for his cause.

Because of the following reasons, The Declaration of Independence is such a well known document and made Jefferson such a well known person. If Swift at some point gave a realistic resolution, he might have been taken more seriously. In conclusion, anyone can complain about problems and obsticales, but Jefferson gave a real resolution that he was willing to put his life on, Swift did not.

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