study break

desperately trying to get caught up this weekend. i’m at least on my way. i just finished evaluating the declaration of independence. i’ll post it in the extended in case you are interested. next stop: assault weapons ban and then the problem solving exercise for my conference. wheeee!
i was so tired last night, my neighbor dragged me over and cooked for me. i think that the stress from all that has happened has caught up with me – and all i want to do is sleep. but i can’t because i have too much to do. maybe next weekend … riiiiiiight.

Thomas Jefferson used several elements of argument to support the cause for freedom in “The Declaration of Independence.” Jefferson’s main claim of policy indicated that the thirteen American states should break away from King George and Britain, forming their own government. He used a clear warrant and other claims in support of his main point, as well as the elements of ethos, pathos and logos. Jefferson’s two main claims of policy occurred at the beginning and end of the Declaration. The first stated, “�it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,” indicating that the colonists have no choice but to forego King George’s rule. The second claim ended the Declaration, saying “We � solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; � they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peach, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and � all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.” Throughout the piece, Jefferson used claims of fact as support for the main claim of policy. The first five supports started with a claim of fact and ended with either a claim of value or an appeal to ethos – in this case, an attack on the King’s credibility. By attacking the King’s character, Jefferson indicated that he and the American people were of a higher moral caliber than the King. The following examples show the pattern Jefferson used, with CF equaling claim of fact, CV equaling claim of value and E standing for Ethos, with a slash to divide the sections of the sentences: He has refused his Assent to Laws, (CF) / the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. (CV) He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; (CF) / and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. (E) He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature (CF) / a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. (CV) He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records (CF) / for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. (E) He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, (CF) / for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. (CV) The first half of each statement would have been easily verified at the time Jefferson wrote the document. He was asserting fact. But the second half of each statement varied between ethos and a claim of value. When Jefferson claimed the King “has utterly neglected to attend to them” he was addressing the King’s character. Use of the word “neglect” could also appeal to pathos, as Jefferson was trying to elicit a negative response to the King’s actions. When Jefferson stated the King committed “invasions on the rights of the people” he was making a claim of value that what the King did was an invasion. It was a judgment call – not everyone would agree that what the King did was wrong (especially the King). There are a few more uses of ethos in Jefferson’s support, including “[h]e has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power” and “[h]e has refused for a long time � to cause others to be elected; � endeavoured to prevent � population of these States; � and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.” He used logos in “�by refusing � Judiciary powers” and “kept among us � Standing Armies” and “�abolishing our most valuable Laws�” He went on to use pathos in “swarms of Officers to harass our people” and “�plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, �destroyed the lives of our people.” By inciting the colonists’ anger, he hoped to secure their support for independence and a new government. Jefferson’s warrant was a claim that had not been made in regard to government before: that men were created equal, endowed with unalienable rights, and the governed must give consent for the government’s power. If the colonists had not believed this crucial point, the Declaration would not have made an impact on their lives and their belief in a right to freedom. The Declaration was a powerful argument for freedom – so much so that an entire country was built on that principle. Jefferson used many elements of argument successfully to unite a people – and ultimately – a nation.

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