Rhetorical Analysis article

general article writing


Common Sense, written by Thomas Paine, and the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas

Jefferson, were both published in 1776 with only six months separating them. Both discuss a

complete political separation of the thirteen colonies (America) from England. Read and annotate

both excerpts paying close attention to their rhetorical styles. Then, in a well-developed essay, while

comparing and contrasting the strategies that each author uses to support his view, explain which

author’s rhetoric best complements his purpose.

From the Declaration of Independence:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the

political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the

earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a

decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel

them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed

by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of

Happiness.— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just

powers from the consent of the governed,— That whenever any Form of Government becomes

destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new

Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to

them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that

Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly

all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than

to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

 But when a long train of

abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under

absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide

new Guards for their future security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and

such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of 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.

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