The List of Grievances
The Body of the Document: The Declaration's introduction states the philosophy upon which the colonies' decision to rebel is based. The body of the document lists the specific grievances of the colonies against the British government--the evidence. The British government's infringement upon the colonists' God given rights include preventing the passing of laws that promote the common good, calling legislative assemblies at places designed to prevent colonial leaders from attending, the dissolution of representative bodies of governments, the presence of standing armies in times of peace, the harassment of colonists by British officials, establishing unfair trade laws, denying colonists a fair trial, waging war against the colonies, and the impressment of American sailors into the British Navy.
In addition to the list of grievances, Jefferson and his committee assert that the colonists have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with their treatment and that the British have done nothing about it.
Interpretation: It's important to remember that the Declaration's primary audience was not King George, but the world. In order to make their cause just, enlist the help of foreign powers, and win the sympathy of British commoners, the document's writers needed to clearly state their cause and clearly state King George's misdeeds. Jefferson understood this well. His original draft includes several more grievances than the final copy, many of which were obscure and unknown even to the most ardent supporters of American Independence.*
*For an excellent treatment on the origins of the Declaration, check out Pauline Maier's outstanding work.
Argument Analysis - Declaration of Independence Essay
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Argument Analysis - Declaration of Independence
In May of 1776 a resolution was passed at the Virginia Convention in Williamsburg that asked the thirteen American colonies to declare the United Colonies free and independent from the British crown. At the second continental congress the resolution passed and on June 11, 1776 a five-man committee led by Thomas Jefferson was established to write the Declaration of Independence. On July 4, 1776 the members of the second continental congress signed into existence one of the most influential documents in history.
The way that Jefferson structured The Declaration of Independence made the article extremely influential. Jefferson first starts by sharing his belief…show more content…
One reason that The Declaration of Independence was so influential was that Thomas Jefferson’s claims against the King of England were easy to understand and logical. Typical complaints include “For quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us;” and “For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent.” Jefferson uses plain language that everyone can understand to point out large injustices done by the king. His statements about the King are short and to the point. He does not waste any words or bore the reader with abstract writing or excess words and thoughts. He goes from one point to the next to the next in such a fashion that the reader’s concentration is never broken. His points are logical and everyone living in the colonies at that time and many people around the world probably had some idea of the incidents behind all his grievances against the king. Jefferson raps up the injustices done by the king by declaring the United Colonies to be free and independent states.
Another reason that Jefferson’s arguments are extremely persuasive is that he is a credible and respected amongst the delegates of the colonies and the citizens of the colonies. Jefferson was one of the leading intellectuals of his time. He was well known as a writer and political leader not only in the colonies, but throughout the world. Anything with his name on it would immediately gain respect