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Jefferson's Document on Why the Colonies Should Not Be under the British Rule

3 pages
647 words
Carnegie Mellon University
Type of paper: 
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Annotation and analysis

This document presents a persuasive argument on why the colonies should not be under the British rule. The author begins by establishing the rights of men and the role and legitimacy of a government. He then presents the grievances towards the political partners and concludes by restating the necessity of disbanding this union. The author effectively uses rhetoric to appeal to the colonies. There is a lot appeal to emotions where he uses specific words to arouse a particular reaction. The document's content and use of rhetoric make it remain relevant today, after more than two centuries. The document is not only appealing regarding the message it transmits but also in the effectiveness of the rhetoric. The idea of equality for all remains relevant today. Additionally, studying the way Jefferson uses rhetoric provides an example of how words can be used effectively to convey information and inspire an audience.


One of the cornerstones of the document is equality. The declaration of independence states that all men are created equal and have indelible rights. Although there have seen significant signs of progress in ensuring that the minorities enjoy equality, there is much more than can be done in ensuring racial equality. Profiling of African Americans and killings of young men presumed to have presented a danger to law enforcers have tainted the spirit of this document. According to a New York Times article by Lee and Park, the deaths of young unarmed black men have over the past three years risen to national prominence, increasing racial tension. The outcry from these deaths demonstrates a peoples need to seek equality as provided by the declaration of independence. It is disheartening that after more than two hundred years, the country is yet to be united. The right to life is one that is inherent to all humans. However, the actions of a few rogue officers and the apparent lack of commitment to providing justice threaten the very foundations of our nation. A lack of fidelity to the spirit of this document betrays our forefathers.

Jefferson use of words created a document that effectively achieves its intended goal. He uses terms such as abuses and usurpations, absolute despotism, forbidden, refused, fatiguing and neglected to refer to the colonial masters. These terms emphasize the need to gain freedom from such terrible masters. It arouses the feeling of rebellion and resentment towards the subject, a necessary emotion in ensuring that every American, regardless of races or other difference is united in confronting a common enemy. The use of these words only come after Jefferson assures the audience that everyone is equal and therefore instilling a sense of unity. Prior to writing any of these negative words about the British, Jefferson claims that history has shown that people would rather enjoy the status quo regardless of its detrimental effect, rather than change their situation for the better. He then goes ahead and outlines how the people are suffering under the colonial rule. Consequently, people feel challenged to be different and eliminate their source of suffering, which in this case is the British.

Jefferson uses logic, emotion and his reputation to write a convincing document acceptable to a majority of the population. Jefferson argues that the British have been reminded, appealed, and warned of their oppressive ways. However, they have been too deaf to listen to the voice of justice. Consequently, it was inevitable to opt for the dissolution of the relationship between the British and its colonies. The use of these terms and in the order used ensured that Jefferson received the appropriate reaction to support the quest for independence.


Works Cited

Lee, Jasmine and Park, Haeyoun. "In 15 High-Profile Cases Involving Deaths of Blacks, One Officer Faces Prison Time." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia, 7 Dec. 2017,


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