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Parallelism in the Declaration of Independence Essay

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Updated: Dec 30th, 2021

Parallelism is achieved by the repetitive use of words to emphasize a point. Anaphora is the technique where words are used repeatedly at the beginning of successive lines and are mostly used in persuasive speech. In periodic sentences, the main points are mainly at the end of sentences. This is the technique that Jefferson uses in writing the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence was authored by Thomas Jefferson, under a committee that included Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, and with a lot of influence by Rousseau. Thomas Jefferson became the Governor of Virginia in 1779. He was the First Secretary of State between 1790 and 1793 and was the Vice President under John Adams (1797-1801). In 1800 he was elected President and he served two terms (1801-1809). Within this time he negotiated for the Louisiana Purchase which was considered as one of his greatest achievements. He tried to abolish slavery (Jacobus, 79). Thomas Jefferson became the third President of the United States. He gained attention through his pamphlet, “A Summary View of the Rights of British America”. Among his other writing was the book, Notes of Virginia, (1782). His writing skills were therefore considered exemplary and the skills can be seen in this historic document.

Jefferson’s writing is based on using periodic sentences, which have the qualities of balance and parallelism. The author stated that God created all men equal, and they are endowed by their creator. The creator provides them rights of Liberty, being happy, and Life. The main point in this famous quote, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’ comes at the end of the sentence… Jefferson uses the same repetition in using “He” when referring to the King of England to emphasize not the personality, but the sovereignty of a nation. “He is repeatedly used while listing on the facts that the King has or has not done that has led to the United States of America to demand their freedom (Jacobus, 80).

Jefferson used the word “He” in listing the serious issues that the King of England has or has not done, those issues which may lead to a revolution by the colony. Though the Declaration does not list the causes of the demands, the document comes out clearly because of the style that Jefferson uses. For the trivial acts against the colony the word “for “is used. For example “ for imposing taxes…, for cutting off our trade” The word “We” referring to the Committee is also used repeatedly while referring to the various things the committee has done before making their demands.

He continues to list the actions by the use of we followed by the verb in the past tense to emphasize the several ways they have tried and to show their patience in ”we have warned….., we have appealed……” He again uses “We” and for more clarification decides to add who the “we” represents in concluding what the Committee has decided, “we, therefore the Representative of the United States……publish and declare…..”.

In using this technique Jefferson enumerates to illustrate the patience of an oppressed people. The declaration comes out as a careful meditation and decisions of exceptionally calm people while the document comes out persuasively and convincing to the reader. The Declaration of Independence comes out as one of the documents where parallelism is applied.

Work Cited

Jacobus, Lee. A World of Ideas. New York: Bedford St Martin’s publishers, 2005. Print.

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