Thomas Jeffersons Ethos In The Declaration Of Independence
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What you might not know about the Declaration of Independence - Kenneth C. Davis
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The top of the little mountain was leveled off in , and construction began on the south outbuilding in , a building with a single room from which Jefferson could live and superintend construction of the main house. Meanwhile, Jefferson was chosen to represent his district in the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg. This was one of the first instances of intercolonial solidarity, and Jefferson was a player in it. The experience caused Jefferson to begin examining the larger legal and political questions of the relationship of the American colonies to Great Britain. Suddenly, the old family home at Shadwell burned to the ground in , incinerating most of Jefferson's papers and books along with it.
But Jefferson was preoccupied with other matters. In October, , he visited The Forest, the plantation of a wealthy lawyer and planter named John Wayles. Wayles made his fortune primarily from the slave trade. His daughter Martha was a widow after just two years of marriage, with an infant son. She was accomplished on the spinet and harpsichord, and Jefferson became her leisurely suitor. He was primarily absorbed during this period, however, in the construction of Monticello. The pace was slow as he continued to alter his blueprints and sketches. Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton on January 1, Over the following ten years, Martha gave birth to six children, the first just less than nine months after the wedding.
Of the six, only two survived to adulthood; Martha, called Patsy the eldest, and Mary or Maria, called Polly by Jefferson , born in Jefferson destroyed the letters he exchanged with Martha during their courtship, so she remains a bit of a mystery to historians. She seems to have been frail, and was nearly constantly pregnant during the marriage. In , Jefferson's young stepson died, as did his father-in-law, John Wayles. Martha Jefferson was left 11, acres of land, 35 slaves, and innumerable debts upon her father's death. Among the slaves she inherited were slaves reputed to be her father's black mistress and several slave children who were her half-sisters and half-brothers.
Jefferson wrote a scholarly treatise entitled A Summary View of the Rights of British America, which "personalized" the argument between the colonies and the mother country. The colonies were organizing for resistance, and Jefferson was becoming known within his state as a leading patriot. He was selected as an alternate for Peyton Randolph, who was a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia in At the last minute, Randolph could not go, and so Jefferson went in his place, arriving in Philadelphia in June.
The armed rebellion against Britain had just begun that April in Massachusetts, and George Washington was chosen to lead the American forces. Jefferson soon found a friend and ally in Congress in the Massachusetts lawyer John Adams; their somewhat opposing personalities complemented one another. Jefferson was re-elected to the Congress by the Virginia Assembly, and returned once more to Philadelphia in September Jefferson found Congress to be tedious and boring, but enjoyed associating with the many intelligent physicians and philosophers in what was then America's largest city.
These included Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Thomas Jefferson's mother died suddenly in the spring of — and that's about all we know about the event. Jefferson merely noted it in his account book, and never commented on either her or her passing. He returned to Virginia for the funeral, and was back in Philadelphia by mid-May. Virginia joined other state representatives in pressing for the independence of the colonies from Britain, and on June 19, Congress appointed a committee of five to draw up a declaration to this effect.
On July 2, , Congress officially passed a resolution calling for full independence from Great Britain, and was presented with Jefferson's draft. Many sections of the draft were controversial, and Congress picked apart, deleted sections, and changed the wording of several of Jefferson's key phrases. By July 4, the document was ready, was accepted by Congress, and was read to a crowd gathered outside the Pennsylvania State House, now known as "Independence Hall.
He became a national and world figure at age Although he resented the changes Congress made to his draft, Jefferson took great pride in his authorship of the Declaration; it is the second of three things he most wished to be remembered for. Jefferson left the Continental Congress for good in September , returning to Monticello. Although appointed by Congress as an emissary to France along with Benjamin Franklin, Jefferson declined the appointment. During the next couple of years, Jefferson was an occasional attendee of Virginia Assembly sessions in Williamsburg, but his main absorption was Monticello, which he continued to alter and expand. In , a sudden swing of 12 votes in the Assembly gave Jefferson a majority, electing him Governor of Virginia.
This was a post he neither sought nor wanted. He took office during the darkest days of the war, when rampant inflation and counterrevolution by Tories plagued Virginia. Jefferson was the last governor to occupy the old Royal Governor's Palace in Williamsburg. As governor, he encouraged the military operations of George Rogers Clark in the west. The southern military campaign went badly for the Americans, however, and in a victorious British army under Lord Charles Cornwallis entered the state.
Jefferson moved slowly, too slowly, to raise militia forces to prepare to meet the threat. On June 1, he resigned his post, the end of two one-year terms as Governor. Jefferson was a controversial figure at this time, heavily criticized for inaction and failure to adequately protect the state in the face of a British invasion. Even on balance, Jefferson had been a very poor state executive, and left his successor, Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Nelson did so, personally raising militia forces to augment American armies under Lafayette and Washington, and French forces under Rochambeau, which bottled up the British in the port of Yorktown, forcing the surrender of Cornwallis and the virtual end of hostilities. In , a negotiated peace gave the United States the independence it had declared in The Virginia Assembly made an investigation into Jefferson's conduct while governor, and although he was cleared of any wrongdoing, the whole affair left a stain on his reputation. Visitors to Monticello just after the war found Jefferson to be casual and offhand with them to the point of rudeness; but when his conversational appetite was whetted he became "irresistibly animated," lively and enthusiastic.
During this period Jefferson wrote Notes on the State of Virginia, his only book and one of the first scholarly works produced in America. Europeans had been saying that their continent was superior to the Americas, and Jefferson answered them in his book not only by refuting false statements, but by saying that Virginia, and thus America, surpassed Europe. Remember that Virginia in considered itself the owner of all the land later called the Northwest Territory out to the Great Lakes, Kentucky and Tennessee. Notes on the State of Virginia reviewed the geography of the state, rivers, ports, mountains, flora, fauna, climate, American Indian people, constitution, laws, colleges, buildings, religion, manners, manufactures, commerce, weights, measures, money, and included a bibliographic section.
An extremely important section on slavery was also included, in which Jefferson set forth his ambivalent ideas regarding that institution. Jefferson criticized slavery in the book, and remarked, "indeed I tremble for my countrymen when I reflect that God is just. Jefferson, over and above his political philosophy, architectural genius, and authorship of the Declaration of Independence, is most often recognized today as a slaveholder. His statement that "All men are created equal" seems to ring hollow in the face of his ownership of slaves.
Martha Jefferson's health declined rapidly after the birth of the Jeffersons' last child. Jefferson personally tended her through her final illness. She died September 6, , and Jefferson was despondent for years afterward. Long, solitary rides over the countryside brought him some relief from his emotions. He never spoke of his wife again. The words on her tombstone were chosen by Jefferson from the Iliad:. Taking his mind from the tragedy, Jefferson re-entered public life. He returned to Philadelphia as a Congressman from his state in , accompanied by his daughter Martha Patsy , who became his constant companion, staying by his side until his death in Early in , Congress decided to send Jefferson to France to join Benjamin Franklin and John Adams in negotiating commercial treaties with various European powers.
He sailed with Patsy, several household slaves, and William Short, a fellow Virginian for whom he had high regard. Jefferson's visit to Europe was overwhelming, as he encountered things he had only read about and seen in engravings in books. The great architecture, art, and culture of the ancient Romans and the Renaissance was his to admire in person. While in France Jefferson lived in style, bought the latest clothes, finest wines, best books, glass, china, and silverware.
Patsy was educated by nuns at an expensive girls school. Jefferson loved France; it was as though he was made for that country, a Frenchman at heart. Jefferson soon met and fell in love with Maria Cosway, a British painter. She was beautiful, intelligent, talented, spoke several languages - and she was married. Her husband, Richard Cosway, was also an artist - a small, foppish dandy who treated Maria badly. Jefferson was 43, Maria They toured Paris together for six wonderful weeks. Jefferson somehow dislocated his right wrist during this period; it has been hypothesized that he did so by boyishly jumping over a fence, tripping in the process.
Characteristically, Jefferson taught himself to write with his left hand, and remained ambidextrous for the rest of his life. Jefferson's idyll with Maria was suddenly cut short by Richard Cosway, who, having completed his artistic commission, insisted that Maria return to England with him. With Maria's departure, Jefferson's world fell apart once more.
He composed his famous essay, The Dialogue of the Head vs. It was a love letter composed for Maria - with his left hand. Maria was a Roman Catholic and suffered more than her share of guilt over the relationship. She worried obsessively about pregnancy, for she didn't want to have children. Although they continued to correspond, Jefferson's head seemed to take control over his heart after Maria left for England, while Maria fell more deeply in love with him. She secretly visited Paris alone and spent more time with Jefferson, but this time he was distant and removed.
Her dependency upon Jefferson made her later love letters to him sound desperate. It is through this correspondence that we know so much about Jefferson's affair; letters were saved on both sides. Whatever Jefferson felt for Maria Cosway was masked, but they continued to correspond until very late in his life. In later years, Maria left her husband, received an annulment, and founded a convent in Lodi, Italy. Richard Cosway was declared to be insane and institutionalized. In , Jefferson's daughter Lucy died of whooping cough in the United States, prompting Jefferson to send for his youngest surviving child, Polly, to join him in Paris. Polly, aged nine, was accompanied on her ocean voyage by several household slaves, including Sally Hemings.
A young year-old slave girl, it is believed that Hemings was the daughter of Jefferson's father-in-law, John Wayles, and a slave woman. It was said that Sally Hemings bore a strong resemblance to Jefferson's late wife Martha, who was probably her half-sister. It was with this slave girl that Jefferson carried on a life-long affair, and with whom he fathered several children. New DNA evidence has proved with some finality that Jefferson indeed fathered at least one of Sally Hemings' sons, bearing out the truth of the old rumors and political slander that accompanied this liason.
Jefferson cared for Sally's mulatto children, and he noted each of his slave's births in his farm journal. It is important to discuss this issue in some detail. The following passage, by Douglas L. College teachers are often dismayed to discover that many if not most of their students now regard this as an accepted fact. But this is not all. In the prevailing ethos of the sexual revolution, Jefferson's supposed liaison is widely received with equanimity and seems to earn him nothing more reproachful than a knowing smile.
Banneker constructs an argument in his letter to persuade Jefferson of the cruelty and inhumanity that slavery entails. Motivated by the desire to convince Jefferson to abolish slavery, Banneker appeals to pathos by comparing slavery to the American Revolution, appeals to logos by referencing the Declaration of Independence, and establishes ethos by making. Pathos, Logos, and Ethos are examples of rhetorical devices, where the rhetorician would appeal to an audience to prove a point. In both the Declaration of Independence and The American Crisis 1, the authors use several examples of rhetoric to persuade their audience in the s, to separate themselves from England.
The Declaration of Independence is a document written by the Continental Congress that declared the separation of the colonies from Britain and gained them invaluable international support. The rhetorical situation includes who the speaker and audience are and what the subject, context, and purpose is in the Declaration. Within the Declaration of Independence, the speaker is Thomas Jefferson and Congress on behalf of the colonies, speaking to an audience of the world, especially Great Britain, and. The Declaration of Independence was written for the purpose of separating the American colonies from the British Empire.
In context of history, The Declaration was the first step into a modern representative democracy. In addition, the makers of the declaration, primarily Thomas Jefferson, constructed an argument to state the problems they had with Britain and tell how the new American government was going to deal with the problems. The argument Jefferson constructed was one made with all the wrong. In his letter he mentioned how freedom was a blessing from heaven, cited a part from the Declaration of Independence, and even made a reference to someone in the Bible. He used many rhetorical strategies to help argue that slavery should be outlawed, for example ethos, religious appeals, and pathos.
Banneker in the second paragraph established ethos by citing a part of the Declaration of Independence. It was writers and speakers of the revolutionary era who persuaded colonists to abandon loyalty to the King. Revolutionary writers used rhetorical devices in order to persuade the colonists to fight against the British. Thomas Jefferson, in his well-known Declaration of Independence, conveys his message through belletristic devices. He employs imagery, language, diction, and syntax in an organized and straightforward manner, which gets the audience intrigued.