Declaration of Independence Evaluation

1 January 2017

Thomas Jefferson was one our nation’s founding fathers. Prior to being elected America’s third president, Jefferson was selected to draft the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson had visions of a nation independent of the British hold that was grasping our country at that time. With beautiful, flowing words and true foresight into the future, Jefferson used the appeal of Ethos, Pathos and Logos. Thomas Jefferson vision for this country was well represented in the writing as he wrote it before the fifty-six other signatures declared America’s independence.

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Our third president, born in 1743, was not just a public servant but also a historian, husband and father. Of course, he was also a slave owner, which in Virginia was the norm for an affluent property owner (Monticello). Perhaps Jefferson practicing law in Virginia was what most influenced his ability to poetically write the Declaration of Independence. One of the recognizable lines of this documents is “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal…Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Declaration).

This declaration was not just for the British, but also for all citizens of the original thirteen colonies and in order for our Independence to be successful as a nation the people would need to use this a rallying cry. To say Jefferson was able to appeal to his audience on an ethical level is an understatement. These words and their most basic meaning have a certain level of credibility and that is evident by the respect and recognition the Declaration still has today.

Immigrants in this modern day seeking a new life in an independent, free country still read these words and find Jefferson’s emotionally persuasive words moving and uniting. When the United States was to establish a new, independent government the focus would be on refusing tyranny from government. Jefferson scribed words into the Declaration that emotionally appealed to all readers. For citizens the statements accusing the King of Great Britain of absolute tyranny granted them ammo of words and rally in the fight for independence.

To the audience abroad, the Kingdom of Great Britain viewed these bold words as not just a declaration of independence, but an act of war against the Kingdom. Emotions on high because of words on a paper and there was no other way Jefferson could be so effective. “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” (Declaration), were words to culminate a long, emotionally engaging declaration, and then signed by representatives of the original thirteen states.

A basic breakdown of this document reveals the intentions were to make specific statements as to why the people of this new country have been wronged by King and to declare, literally, our independence. That after several arguments for logic and after being refused to be heard the only true logical outcome now was for these lands and men to be independent of Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson as well as all the signing founding fathers were not unaware that this declaration would surely instigate conflict on our land.

A war that would not be easily be won, with several casualties. This was presumed before the declaration was made, but it was also the only logical step towards an independent, successful nation. Jefferson wrote the many accusations so specifically as to not leave doubt in any reader’s mind that this was absolutely necessary. Appealing to the Logos, or logical means of reasoning is implied. Thomas Jefferson is remembered for several acts as one of our founding fathers, however his draft of the Declaration of Independence is one of greatest accomplishments.

There is no measure of whether or not our country as we know it would be different if Jefferson did not author the declaration, but it is easy to recognize the effects throughout our society that he had with this document. Jefferson applied, whether intended or not, the appeals of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos and his vision for this nation was evident in the words undersigned by fifty-six founding fathers.

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