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The Declaration of Independence and The Gettysburg Address Essay

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    If a nation does not have effective tools then how will it prosper without them? These five texts all contribute in some way to our nation. Our founding fathers were able to use literature to help us gain our freedom. Our founding fathers use rhetorical strategies, which was a major key to secure our freedom. The Declaration of Independence, The Gettysburg Address, The American Revolution: visual propaganda, The United States Constitution: a graphic adaptation, and The Pedestrian all are rhetorical strategies that can be used to establish and preserve freedom. With the use of diction, propaganda, appeals, and other rhetorical strategies it grabs the reader’s attention and feelings.

    The Declaration of Independence and The Gettysburg Address both use strong diction and other strategies that draw the reader’s attention into preserving and establishing our freedom. Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln’s choice of diction connected to their purpose for writing their documents, and they both also take into consideration their audience and the occasion that they were in. Jefferson used charged language to express his emotions as well as others’ emotions. For instance in the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson uses an appeal to emotion that consists of charged language. Jefferson described the king of Great Britain as a man of “a history of repeated injuries and usurpations…” (3). This type of word choice shows the charged language Jefferson uses because it would make the readers’ see the king as an unlawful man and as a thief because he tried taking things away from his own people. The readers’ can also see that he hurt the people of the colonies. Using this appeal of emotion made the readers’ rethink how they perceived the king. Jefferson also uses different persuasive appeals, like appeals to logic and to authority.

    With all of these appeals, it makes the readers think in a certain way or take a particular action. Jefferson shows evidence for all his claims which shows the readers’ that he is experienced in what he is doing. To preserve freedom everything must be kept in its original and existing state. If this document were to ever change or kept on being revised or fixed then we would not have our freedom. The Declaration of Independence helped us protect and install our liberty. The Gettysburg Address also helped the United States. Abraham Lincoln’s speech is undoubtedly one of the most important speeches in the United States. With this speech, he invoked the principles of human equality that is in the Declaration of Independence and connected the sacrifices of the civil war with ideals for a new birth of freedom. Although Lincoln’s speech was only 272 words, he conveyed his thoughts with a unique quality. Lincoln’s choice of diction was very formal. In particular, in the beginning of his address he stated, “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation…” ( 1). In this remark, Lincoln could have stated it in a much easier way, but he gave it more of a unique style and he also wanted to let the audience know what his purpose was for writing his address. Lincoln’s fluency in this speech helps him express his ideas clearly and precisely. Lincoln’s choice of wording immediately connects to his purpose for the speech.

    He was also aware of the consideration and the occasion. Like previously mentioned, Lincoln used more of a formal diction instead of a more informal tone. During his address, Lincoln is heartbroken from all the losses he is there to commemorate, but he is also there to dictate that the men lying there will not have “died in vain” (3). He uses words like ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ to stir up patriotism, and he uses sacred language like ‘consecrated,’ ‘holy,’ and ‘hollow’ to honor the loss of life. He uses persuasion when he reminds us that we all should dedicate ourselves to making sure that these deaths were not ‘in vain.’ Lincoln demonstrates a choice of diction that is very powerful and has various of tones, like sorrow, responsibility, and hope for the future. The use of diction, in both documents, helps engage the audiences’ feelings and thoughts. This is a good strategic way that helps use preserve and establish our freedom.

    The American Revolution: Visual Propaganda and the United States A Graphic Adaptation are also documents that benefited the United States. Both of these documents used symbolism and propaganda to let the audience know about the things that were happening. The American Revolution document shows us propaganda, logos, ethos, and symbolism. The propaganda helped us establish our freedom because it spread awareness to the citizens about everything that was occurring. Propaganda either helped or harmed a person, group, movement, cause, or nation. With this document it varies. Many helped themselves while others were not on their sides. Propaganda encouraged people to react emotionally rather than logically, which would make them think more about their decisions. In Benjamin Franklin’s political image, “Join or Die,” describes a snake cut up into pieces labeled with the initials of each colony ( image 1). This political cartoon was used to tell the colonies to go against the French in the French and Indian War. This image harmed the French because it made everyone go against them. You do not want something or someone to go against you, but unfortunately that is what the French got. It also symbolizes colonial protests against Great Britain during the American Revolution. In the photographs by Paul Revere and the London’s newspaper both show the mistreatment of the American citizens. In Revere’s picture, “The Boston Massacre,” it exhibits what happened when the colonists were rioting against the British (image 2). This photocopy displays that the British did not have a organized fire line, which makes them look atrocious. Colonists rights were not protected, that’s why Americans were fighting to preserve and establish every ounce of freedom they could get. The drawing of the London newspaper named, “The Bostonians in Distress,” exposes the British as they are shown feeding the colonists while they are in cages (image 3). This type of propaganda helped the citizens know how the British were treating people of their own. These images also used logos and pathos to attract and engage the audience’s mind and emotion. In the United States Constitution a graphic adaptation, the layout is what helped the intended audience look at the document correctly and understand what the point was. Speech balloons are used to point out the main ideas that the person is speaking about and they also used captions that gave the readers more information about the topics. This political cartoon shows us how the Articles of Confederation demanded revision in order to form a stronger national government. Although the Articles of Confederation created Congress, it did not create a capable national government. That is why it needed revision as soon as possible. In panel 4, the people believed that the government was getting too much power. There were anti-federalist, people who wanted a strong, central government to overrule them, but others were federalist, these types of people believed first in the sovereignty of the states. Some thought the constitution was anti-religious because it never mentioned God. With all these remarks that were being said, they had to set up a powerful new government to dominate the states because they were out of control. With both of these documents’ uses of rhetorical strategies, it guides us to preserve our freedom because it was obvious that many people had different thoughts and ideas for the government and the nation. With the uses of propaganda, symbolism, and etc., comforted us to keep our freedom the same by letting citizens know how they were being treated and what was going on in their society.

    Now back to the Declaration of Independence and The Gettysburg Address. Both of these documents also used syntax. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson states, “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” (3). Jefferson uses syntax in his quotes to explain to the audience that all men are created and that they have equal and unlimited rights. He uses subject, verb, object in “all men are created equal.” Lincoln’s control of syntax in The Gettysburg Address stated the clear main ideas of his point. He uses repetition and anaphora in order to inspire his audience, indicating the main idea that the United States must rise from the catastrophe of the Civil War as a nation trying to become independent. In addition to repetition, Lincoln also includes anaphora in The Gettysburg Address. He exclaims, “We cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.” This is an anaphoric phrase expressing the dilemma of obtaining freedom the dead had fought for. Like repetition, anaphora highlights Lincoln’s main idea in The Gettysburg Address and contributes to the speech’s historic background. All of these rhetorical strategies tie together to keep our freedom ditto because it engages the readers’ thinking and makes them reevaluate their decisions

    A perfect example of not knowing how to preserve something is The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury. Many writers do not tend to have the same passion as they had before in writing because technology has taken over. The narrator was in a world of A.D. 2053 where everything had changed and the society banned reading and commanded everyone to watch TV. In Bradbury’s story he argues that, “Magazines and books didn’t sell any more. Everything went on in the tomblike houses at night now, he thought, continuing his fancy. The tombs, ill-lit by television light, where the people sat like the dead, the gray or multicolored lights touching their faces, but never really touching them” (25). Here he is using descriptive words to describe how the new environment was ever since the change. If this were to ever happen to any of the documents talked about previously the US would be chaotic. Nothing would have been preserved and our freedom would not have been properly established. Many things would have changed because better things would start. But since we have those important documents we were able to preserve our freedom and keep it the same.

    To conclude, our founding fathers were able to protect our basic human rights. Although change is good, we are not able to change these documents. With the help of literature, the US was able to prosper into a stronger nation. Would the United States still be the same? Would we still be the same individuals?

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