Gettysburg Address Versus Declaration of Independence Essay

1472 Words Mar 28th, 2008 6 Pages
Lincoln’s Address Versus Jefferson’s Declaration
Two of the most important, and, perhaps the two most important documents in American history are the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address. The Declaration of Independence, the document of secession written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776, called for the complete independence of the states from the British Empire. The Gettysburg Address was a document on the theory of union that stressed the need for one united country and expressed the importance of doing whatever necessary to complete the task of keeping the states united as one. It was written and delivered by Abraham Lincoln in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania at a cemetery dedication for soldiers who had died in the famous Civil
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The major premise of Jefferson’s argument is his theory of “natural law,” where he argues, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” He goes on to state that it is the government’s job to protect these rights of the people and if it fails to do so, “it is [the people’s] duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” Having this major, broader premise in his argument is what leads him into his minor premise, which is his attack on King George III. Jefferson accuses the King of preventing the people from exercising the rights that Jefferson previously mentions. He then provides specific examples of how George III and his government did so. With this argument, composed of his major and minor premises, Jefferson goes into his conclusion, the call for secession of the colonies from the British Empire. The organization of the Declaration of Independence helps Jefferson’s argument a great deal. The syllogism provides areas for multiple arguments that can be backed by strong evidence. With it, Jefferson is able to argue his points in a clear and easy way with little room for a rebuttal from an opposing argument.
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, on the other hand, is organized quite differently from Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.
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