When writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, how did the authors want to affect their readers?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The authors of these two very different documents were trying to accomplish very different things.

The Declaration of Independence was largely a tool for motivation.  Thomas Jefferson wanted to encourage Americans to rebel against Britain and to see the need for independence.  He wanted people in other countries to agree that the colonists were right to rebel.  Therefore, this is very much a document whose point is to persuade.

The authors of the Constitution were not trying to persuade.  They were trying to establish a form of government that would be just and durable.  Therefore, they were not really trying to affect their readers in any emotional way.  The only part of the Constitution that could be seen in this way is the Preamble.  Mainly, the authors of this document were trying to affect people by clearly setting out the rules for a new form of government, not by persuading them that that government was the best possible form of government.

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