The values play an important role in our world perception and outlook. A person can be characterized by the values to which they adhere. In addition, the value systems are also used as the means of persuasion influencing the decision making and attitude.
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The aim of this essay is to explain the values on which the essay A Discourse on the Love of our Country is focused.
The understanding of the values of an individual can provide an insight into their way of thinking and behavior, thus allowing determination of the motives and goals of the individual. The motives and goals are the fundamental factors influencing the decision making. The ways by which value systems as well as decision making systems vary is rather similar. Both of them vary according to the degree of their sensitivity to the motives of the subject, its knowledge about its environment, and the intrinsic timescales (Dayan, n.d., p.68).
The essay A Discourse on the Love of our Country touches upon such values as patriotism, love of the own country, national pride and identity. If the value system formed in the society consists of such values, it can be said that the people are strongly dedicated to their native land. If these values are considered to be the highest in the society, then the people will sacrifice other values in case of the threat to their motherland and nation.
It goes without saying that the essay A Discourse on the Love of our Country is aimed at the persuasion of people in the supremacy of values of virtue, truth, and liberty (Price, 1790). The author tries to dispose the readers to patriotic mood. However, the author explains that the love of the own country may also be different. He stresses that the care should be taken for encouraging people to have the virtue, truth, and liberty as the highest values while cultivating the love of their native land. Only if people value these ethical norms the most, their love of their own country will not lead to the disrespect to other nations which, as history proves, sometimes can be disastrous for mankind.
In order to persuade the readers in his point of view, the author uses certain principles of persuasion which are based on the psychology of people. In particular, it is said by the specialists that the relevance of the issue to the personal needs of the audience plays a crucial role in the success of persuasion.
“When relevance was high, increasing the number of strong arguments led to more persuasion, but increasing the number of weak arguments led to less persuasion…Under low relevance, all that mattered was the number of reasons given” (Shavitt & Brock, 1994, p.136).
We can notice in the essay that the author uses a substantial number of arguments supporting his ideas. This is due to the relative irrelevance of the issue discussed to the personal needs of the majority of people. Although most of us take care about the importance of being a patriot of your own country, in our day to day life we are more concerned with our daily wants.
In addition, we can see that the author refers to the religious sources. He uses a strong people commitment to the Bible by quoting the Psalms to support his view and to make people interested in the topic of his discourse.
Finally, a plenty of interrogative and exclamatory sentences is used by the author to make the readers inspired with his ideas. It can be said that in his essay he tries to establish a dialogue with the audience. Firstly, he raises the questions making the readers think about the issue and then replies to them. In such a way he shows that there is nothing to think about as the answers are already known.
“Be encouraged, all ye friends of freedom and writers in its defence! The times are auspicious… Behold kingdoms, admonished by you, starting from sleep, breaking their fetters, and claiming justice from their oppressors!…You cannot now hold the world in darkness…Restore to mankind their rights and consent to the correction of abuses, before they and you are destroyed together” (Price, 1790, p.50-51).
These are the words which end the essay. Undoubtedly, they are aimed at motivating and inspiring people by using the exclamatory sentences. Moreover, the sentences are enriched with the metaphors which make them sounder. The final sentence tells the audience about the threat to their own life and well-being if they remain passive.
In order to summarize all above mentioned, it should be said that the essay A Discourse on the Love of our Country written by Richard Price in the XVIII century represents a bright example of the message addressed to the public with the intention to inspire them for actions. His primary goal is to inspire people for struggle by emphasizing the supremacy of the values of virtue, truth, and liberty which, according to him, are threatened. In order to reach his goal, the author uses certain techniques of persuasion influencing the decision making of people.
Dayan, P. (n.d.). The role of value system in decision making. Web.
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Price, R. (1790). A Discourse on the Love of Our Country: Delivered on Nov. 4, 1789, at the Meeting-house in the Old Jewry, to the Society for Commemorating the Revolution in Great Britain. London, the United Kingdom: J. Stafford.
Shavitt, Sh., & Brock, T. C. (1994). Persuasion: psychological insights and perspectives. Needham Heights, USA: Allyn and Bacon.