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History of The Declaration of Independence

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“The Declaration of Independence” was written in 1776 by Thomas Jefferson to declare the colonies free and independent from Great Britain. Jefferson used deductive reasoning in the form of a syllogism to argue his claim that because the colonist’s “unalienable rights” (612) were being denied by Great Britain, the colonies were breaking free from Great Britain’s rule to form their own free and independent states. Jefferson gave evidence of the king’s tyranny against the colonies to effectively support his claim. Jefferson’s firm and rational tone helped further the effectiveness of the document. In “The Declaration of Independence,” Thomas Jefferson gave an effective argument stating his claim using deductive reasoning, by supporting his claim with evidence, and by using a firm and rational tone throughout the document.

Jefferson’s document is a deductive argument in the form of a syllogism which includes a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion. The major or general premise stated that “We hold these truths to be self-evident….” The minor or specific premise stated “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men….” Lastly the conclusion stated “That whenever any Form of Government….” (Jefferson 612) Jefferson’s argument came to a conclusion from applying a specific case to general knowledge. His use of a syllogism to state his claim made his claim more reasonable. It makes sense that if men are entitled to certain rights and those needs are not being met by the government then those men need to break free from the government to secure their rights. Using deductive reasoning validated Jefferson’s claim making for an effective argument.

In the document, Jefferson supported the colonies decision to break free from Great Britain by offering eighteen paragraphs describing the king’s tyranny against the colonies. Each paragraph starting with “He has” (613-614) described the “repeated injuries and usurpations” (613) that the king inflicted upon the colonies. Jefferson included all of the reasons for the conclusion to break free to prove that the colonies were just in their decision. By providing the evidence that caused the colonies to decide to break free, Jefferson gave an effective argument for the position the colonies had taken.

Throughout the document, Jefferson wrote in a firm and rational tone which further contributed to the effectiveness of the argument. After stating all of the offenses the king made towards the colonies Jefferson firmly stated that “Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury” (614). He was expressing that the colonists tried to work things out and had exhausted all avenues of redress. By writing the document rationally, the claim, reason, evidence, and solution, all related to each other and made sense. Both the firm and rational tone in Jefferson’s document increased the effectiveness of the argument.

Thomas Jefferson’s “The Declaration of Independence” was written as a deductive argument. Writing the argument using a syllogism helped to make Jefferson’s claim effective. He furthered the effectiveness of his argument by supporting the claim with evidence and by keeping a firm and rational tone throughout the document. Jefferson’s effective argument in “The Declaration of Independence” gave the United States its freedom and independence

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