Ethos, Logos, And Pathos In The Declaration Of Independence

In “The Declaration of Independence” Thomas Jefferson calls for the separation of the American colonists from the grips of an abusive and tyrannical England. He makes his position clear to the colonist and most importantly the world by using persuasive appeals, syntax and diction.

Thomas Jefferson used all three methods (Ethos, Logos, and Pathos). This essay will tell how he used each one starting with Logos.

The most common rhetoric that Thomas Jefferson used was logos not that he didn’t like pathos. Who are we to say though? Thomas Jefferson said something like this People have natural rights, which the government was created to protect. This government is not only neglecting its purpose but is doing a whole bunch of other wrong things on top of that, so obviously we must declare independence. Now the cause of this was the government wasn’t doing its job. (A.K.A not so Great Britain.) Now here’s the effect, we declared independence. This is clear cut so far isn’t it? All Jefferson really must do is reason with the people. He didn’t threaten and starve them like other people. (A.K.A Great Britain) Although it seems like using logos was enough, he had to seal it all with using emotion. This is called pathos and its just as effective. When mixed it can be a dangerous combination for the good or the bad.

Here’s where we get a little more logical, Jefferson talked about independence from the people who have inalienable rights there for not letting the United States of American have our basic rights. Which is love, life, and the pursuit of happiness. Moving past the most famous part of the document, Jefferson proves the failures of the British government: 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. (8-9) (declaration of independence 1776) Not only does Jefferson state that the government has wronged the people, he sets out to demonstrate exactly how by continuing with a specific (and lengthy) list of evidence. He tries to not anger anyone with this but gives a detailed list of twenty-seven examples.

Now, Jefferson wasn’t all logic and reason, he lets some Pathos sneak in there. Phrases like ‘all men are created equal,’ ‘mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable’ (5), and ‘absolute Tyranny’ (8) certainly appeal to the more emotional side of the audience. I must note that these are credited to the declaration of independence (declaration of independence 1776) Jefferson also later describes how the British people were ‘deaf to the voice of justice,’ (44) which is a pretty dramatic way to say they didn’t respond to a letter. Next time you ask someone for a favor, and they ignore you, tell them they were ‘deaf to the voice of injustice” and if you just get weird looks, though, you didn’t get the idea here.

Jefferson continues to persuade the people to become independent. As a concerned human being would of course. The document is calm cool and collected from the mind of Jefferson and some others. Its not jumbled and it again gets logos put into play again. Whereas it’s the main rhetoric he uses as I have stated before. He uses logos and pathos, but I don’t believe he uses ethos. Now when he did use pathos it was, mainly to unite the Americans against the king. Who will fight the king? The everyday man the person to your left and the person to your right. I’ve read multiple essays over what rhetoric Jefferson uses and I can say its highly debated. Although not many says he relies on ethos just logos and pathos. I myself believe in logos. Jefferson was a meaningful man that didn’t want to manipulate the population to do good by him. He wanted them to do good by them all. Now near the end of the declaration of independence we have already read about the love life and pursuit of happiness due to its famous words that started this country. Now there’s more then just those simple statements. It made you FEEL the excitement. The readiness of the new country. And it started more than a revolution. Although the last paragraph is the one that declares the independence of the United States of America. Because this is a momentous thing to do, this whole paragraph is dripping with pathos. He started with logos and ended with pathos. When he started with logos he was talking of the creation of the independence while he was creating the declaration of independence that’s sort of a two for one there. He invoked sadness with pathos to show everyone that its sad to be in a land so free yet controlled by a bigger country. Stated that we needed to join and rebel. Explained how we could be on our own and be independent.

Now in conclusion Thomas Jefferson made a longer essay then mine but he created a country with it using logos and pathos. When he used logos and pathos it created emotion and movement towards their goal. The declaration of independence wasn’t just a thrown together book report or essay. It was toughly thought out. All during a war when emotions were high strung and edgy. With the help of logos and pathos he harnessed that emotion and created for the better good.