The Declaration of Independence is perhaps the most masterfully written document of Western civilization. This essay seeks to illuminate that artistry by probing the discourse microscopically at the level of the sentence, phrase, word, and syllable. By approaching the Declaration in this way, we can shed light both on its literary qualities and on its rhetorical power as a work designed to convince the American colonies they were justified in seeking to establish them as
showed first 75 words of 1338 total
showed last 75 words of 1338 total
style, form, and content. Its solemn and dignified tone, its graceful and unhurried cadence, its symmetry, energy, and confidence, its logical structure and dramatic appeal, its skillful use of its fine distinction and implication all contribute to its rhetorical power. This process explains why the “Declaration of Independence” remains one of the handful of American political documents that, in addition to meeting the immediate needs of the moment, continues to enjoy a radiant literary reputation.