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What rhetorical devices (words, phrases, etc.) does Jefferson use in the Declaration of...

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kajeepeer | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:01 AM via web

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What rhetorical devices (words, phrases, etc.) does Jefferson use in the Declaration of Independence?

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mwalter822 | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted April 3, 2012 at 4:17 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the rhetorical techniques that Jefferson uses in the Declaration of Independence is repetition. This is used to great effect in the body of the document, as he is listing the grievances that the colonists hold against the King. After starting the declaration with a logical account of the colonists’ need to establish independence, Jefferson then delineates all of the reasons that King George has given them to revolt. He gives 27different transgressions that King George has committed, all beginning with the words “He has” or “For.” The first one, for example, is

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

The effect of repetition in this section of the document is to emphasize how unfairly the British have treated the colonies. Putting all the grievances together in this fashion, with the repeated introductory word(s) gives the impression that the list just goes “on and on.”

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