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A Comparison Of The Persuasive Techniques Used In "The Declaration Of Independence" And "The Speech In The Virginia Convention"

1136 words - 5 pages

Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry were avid patriots who mastered the used of persuasion. "The Declaration of Independence" and Patrick Henry's "Speech in the Virginia Convention" were both very effective in motivating their intended audiences. "The Declaration" and the "Speech to the Convention" possess some similarities and some differences, but their main premise is the same: to support independence from Great Britain.One difference between the two works is their format. Patrick Henry is considered to be the most compelling orator of the American Revolution. His "Speech to the Convention" was exactly that, a speech that was meant to be read aloud. His oration helped to motivate many colonists to seek their independence from Great Britain (Carroll 184). Thomas Jefferson was known as the "silent member" of the congress. He lacked great verbal skills, but because of His ability to write, he was selected to draft "The Declaration" (http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/tj3.html). " The Declaration" was a document that was not necessarily meant to be read aloud. It was an article that was meant to be read silently or to a small group.There are both similarities and differences in the message "The Declaration" and the "Speech in the Convention" is trying to convey. The purpose of "The Declaration" is to proclaim the independence of the colonies to Great Britain. The document states that the colonies are not going to suffer under tyrannical rule any longer. You can see evidence of this in the following passage, "...that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government..." (156). The purpose Patrick Henry's "Speech to the Convention" was to rally support for the fight for independence. Henry believed that fighting was the only solution left. You can see evidence of this in the following passage:We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated...Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded...If we wish to be free...we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight (188-189)! Henry's "Speech in the Convention" and Jefferson's "Declaration" were intended for different audiences. "The Declaration" was written to be approved by congress, and then sent to King George III of Great Britain. Indirectly, the colonists were also an audience for "The Declaration." The document was a formal statement of independence, and everyone in the world was watching to see what would happen. The audience for Henry's "Speech in the Convention" was the Virginia Provincial Convention. This consisted of delegates and wealthy landowners who had a stake in the outcome of the meetings. Although most of the speakers at the convention that day argued that the colonies should seek a compromise with Great Britain, Henry was not afraid to state...

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