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Ashley Willardson
Ms. Parker
11th Grade Core A
14 October 2014
The Declaration of Independence
1776 was a year of great trial and controversy for the early Americans. The culminating
event was the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4. The Declaration was mostly
written by Thomas Jefferson. It was addressed to the British government as well as to the
American colonists. It was written to show the reasons the Americans had for separating from
Britain and to give the Americans confidence in their new and independent country. The
Founders in Congress used repetition, allusions, lists, and words heavy with connotations to
convince the British government and the American people that they were justified in their
decisions to separate.
The Founders used repetition to strengthen their argument by their frequent references to
their God-given rights. They said that men are endowed with certain, unalienable rights, that
government was instituted to secure those rights, and that when government doesnt, it is the
peoples right to throw off such government. This shows that the Founders knew what their
rights were and that they werent going to allow Britain to continue to infringe on those rights.
They are showing that they know it is their right to break off and form a new government that
will protect their rights. They are showing that this decision is justified, has well thought out
reasons, and that it would be wrong for Britain to continue to take away the Americans rights.
The allusions Congress used were mostly to John Locke, and English philosopher who
lived during the time of the Glorious Revolution. He made the argument that governments are

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instituted to protect the life, liberty and property of its people, and when it fails to do this, it is
the right of the people to form a new government that will keep their end of the social contract.
Jefferson echoed this argument when he says, That to secure these rights, governments are
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governedthat any
form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to
abolish it The fact that Jefferson repeated Lockes ideas shows his credibility. It shows that he
is a reliable author for this document. Locke was an influential writer and was highly respected.
Using his ideas and authority on this subject to back up their claims demonstrated the amount of
thought and reasoning that went into the Declaration.
While allusions to Locke contribute to the logical side of the argument, the detailed list of
offenses adds not only to the logical side, but also illustrates the specific reasons they have for
wanting to break off. Words like imposing, depriving, ravaged, and destroyed add a
great deal of weight to their argument. Showing specific examples of the Kings offenses and
using strong, potent language demonstrates their reasons for separation. It shows that they have
actual, concrete instances of the Kings misuse of power over the American colonies. It proves
that they have thought through this decision and that it wasnt just a sudden, angry explosion.
Using specific language in this list adds greatly to the strength of the Founders argument.
Another example of powerful word choice is the last line, which says And for the
support of this Declaration and with a firm reliance on divine Providence, we mutually pledge to
each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. The mention of Providence invokes a
sense of justice. It shows that the Americans know Britain has treated them wrongly and they are
fully within their rights in choosing to separate. The weight that comes with referring to
Providence combined with the statement of pledging their lives fortune and honor shows how

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much devotion they have to this cause. They know that they could all be hung for treason by
adding their names to the Declaration, but they are so dedicated that they are willing to take that
chance for the benefit of the rest of the country and for the benefit of their posterity. It shows
how much conviction they have about their right to be independent. They were willing to risk
everything to have secure rights for themselves and for future generations. The last line is an
acknowledgement that they are putting everything on the line. It adds a lot of emotion to their
argument to see how much conviction they had through these powerful words.
The Declaration of Independence might have been originally considered ineffective
because Britain rejected it initially and refused to recognize America as independent. However,
they eventually changed their minds and agreed to Americas right to independence. From the
American perspective, it was always successful in what it was designed to do because it got the
colonists excited and confident about this endeavor. The Declaration of Independence was a
well-reasoned and thought out document outlining why America was justified in their separation
from Britain. The Founders showed their reasoning through repeatedly referring to their rights,
alluding to the writings and ideas of John Locke, listing the specific offenses of the King, and
using words with heavy connotations to evoke feeling and emotion. Their argument is very
strong because of the logic and reasoning that they employ. The Declaration of Independence
was successful largely through the well-reasoned argument made by the Founders.