14 October 2018
Rhetorical Analysis Essay
Great Britain was the leading world power in the 1700s and the colonies were under their control. Most residents of the colonies were angered by the Kings constant impositions on them, including Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson and other founding fathers finally decided enough is enough, and Jefferson wrote the document known as: “The Declaration of Independence”. Throughout this document, Jefferson uses several rhetorical devices to list the atrocious acts committed against the colonies by Great Britain and the King, and informs them that the colonies are done putting up with it.
One example of parallelism in the Declaration is the use of “we have” then a past tense verb, such as “We have petitioned,” and “we have conjured. Another example of Jefferson’s use of parallelism is in the section where he lists the grievances against the king. For example, the statements “he has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance” and “he has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people” are an example of parallelism. Both statements address the fact that laws have been neglected and forbidden by the king. However, Jefferson uses parallelism to restate specific grievances rather than repeating the same phrases.
The tone in the declaration begins very respectfully, saying that it “has become necessary…to dissolve the political bands” that have connected the colonies and great Britain. It’s not as if the colonies just randomly decided on a whim that they didn’t want to be a part of Britain any more, but after reviewing all their options, they decided that it was the “necessary” thing to do. After this it turns into a long list of complaints against the King, “He has…he has…he has…” after enough of this, the declaration begins to sound a little whiny. But, the declaration wasn’t intended for public consumption in Britain, it was primarily intended for the people of the colonies to read and break people’s sense of allegiance towards the king.
Jefferson’s diction helps contribute to conveying his message as well. Congress “hold(s) these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal”. Jefferson and congress regard it as a fact that all men are the same with “certain unalienable rights”, he phrases it that way so as to drive the point to King George, that it is their “unalienable” to be treated the same way as the residents of England.
Jefferson used many rhetorical devices when he wrote the Declaration of Independence, and in the end, the Declaration was signed by everyone in congress, the colonies declared themselves free from Great Britain, fought a war, won it, and the rest is history.