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Declaration of Independence Rhetorical Analysis

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July 4 1776, the Declaration of Independence was finished and America was born. The people of the governed that became increasingly fed up with the tyrant British Crown rule led to this major rebellion. The Declaration of Independence having to be approved and signed by over fifty persons whom represented many others, was required to be persuasive and appeal to the masses of colonies’ population. Phrases like “all men are created equal” and “that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights”, were used to appeal to their audience and secretly hinted to slavery being abolished in the century to come, apparently going unnoticed by those in favor of the institution. The authors of the Declaration of Independence effectively convinces their audience that is was now time to abolish the current government and put a better one in place through great use of logos, ethos, and pathos to appeal to the masses of the British colonies’ population.

“The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world”. After this statement is a list of over 25 examples of Tyranny done by the then King of Great Britain; which is a great use of logos to give more than enough logical reason that the Tyrant rule should be abolished and replaced. The authors of the text also state that a government’s purpose is to protect those governed, and their powers should be derived also from those governed; here they use logos by giving examples of a proper government’s job, which the British Crown was not fulfilling. Thus the logical thing to do is once again abolish and replace the government with a more suitable one.

The authors then continue by presenting a viable argument and facing it head on; “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient cause; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed”. The authors use logos to answer the premise that a well established government should not be over thrown due to petty reasons, in which they answer with a very logical argument that repeatedly being run over by a tyrant government without responding in a manner favorable for the people, will only result in its continuation of over running the governed.

Lastly they use logos by showing that they have repeatedly attempted to reason with the Crown to only be continuously ignored, showing that the only logical thing left to do was abolish the crown’s rule over the colonies, which is told in this statement. “In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been only by repeated injury. 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 use of logos in this text puts forth the amount and depth of the problems caused by being ruled by a Tyranny. The authors giving specific examples of tyranny actions and humble ways they have attempted to address them brings forth the last logical option they have to make things favorable for the governed.

The authors of The Declaration of Independence uses ethos to appeal to the audiences through shared moral values to persuade them that rule from the British Crown was not reasonable and made no sense to continue. The statement “We hold these truths to be self evident” shows that the authors assumed that the subject at matter was unanimously viewed no differently between the authors and the audience which appeals to them and arises a common theme. The authors also exploits a common belief in a God and religion, however they are careful not specify a specific religion. An example of this is the statement “that they are endowed by their Creator”, which builds a bond between the audience and authors on the bases of religion.

The authors technique to not specify a certain religion allows the audience to assume the belief are the same. The authors continue to use ethos to appeal to the masses of the colonials in the statement “ In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for redress in the most humble terms:”. Use of Oppression appeals to the audiences’ moral views negatively, if the reader begins to view the situation at hand as a form of oppression that would lead to a greater support for replacing the tyrant government. The use of ethos throughout the text appeals to the moral and ethical view of the audience. The authors use assumption to relate to the audience on the subject, which continues to increase the support for abolishing and replacing the government.

The authors also appeal to their audience through extensive use of pathos although not so much through the use of long sentences but rather with strong word choice to persuade the audience that break from the Crown was their only option for putting things in the favor of the people. Words like oppressed, abuses, usurpation, tyranny, sufferance, appeal to the strong emotions of their audience. These strong words rile up the anger of the colonist in a “how dare you” type of attitude towards their government who supposedly exist for the people. In the statement “that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown” pathos is used to excite the colonist in finally doing what is in their best favor and breaking away from their parent company, much like the excitement of a teenager leaving home to go to college.

Another example of the use of pathos is when the authors decide inform the audience that when attempting to get through to the Crown proved invaluable, they attempted to get sympathy from their Britain living counterparts. This also failed, and mentioning that in the text further anger the colonist. Continuing, the authors are sure to show that the new government will be only in the favor of the people especially in the statement, “in the name, and by Authority of the good People”.

This allows the audience to breathe a sigh of relief in knowing the fate of their future will be placed in their own hands, not in the hands of a tyrant government controlling them from across an ocean. The authors successful use of pathos in the text touches the emotions of their audience. The mixture of anger, and frustration toward their tyrant government and excitement of finally doing something about it in their favor provided in the document significantly builds the support for the movement of completing over hauling a long established government system.

The authors of the Declaration of Independence effectively persuade their audience that breaking free from the tyrant British Crown was the best option for them by providing logical reasoning with logos, appealing to moral and ethical values with ethos, and getting into the minds and hearts of their audience with pathos. The authors used these techniques because they knew which emotions to touch, what logic they must use, and what moral values they must appeal to in order to gain support from their audience of the movement to break away from the crown. They also used examples of tyranny their government committed to build credibility for their cause.

The authors faced and disproved arguments as well to show they were not simply states in rebellion for no good reason, they informed their audience that they in fact made numerous attempts to reasoning with the Crown which resulted in only being repeatedly ignored by their ruler, therefore this was their final option. Theses techniques in combination made for a document successful in persuading their audience to be in favor of their cause.

Works cited
“The charters of freedom, A new world at hand” archives.gov. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration.html#more

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