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“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” and “The Declaration of Independence Essay

Persuading people doesn’t have to mean that it has to be done in one unique way. This rhetorical comparison essay between Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” and Jefferson’s, “The Declaration of Independence,” shows two different ways of persuading people through great techniques of English writing. The sentence from Edwards sermon and the opening sentence of the Declaration of Independence both include many points such as the tone, diction, syntax, imagery, rhetorical structure, figurative language. The points shown through the opening of Jefferson’s Declaration aims through the effects of these points to obtain the attention of the audience. However, the sentence, “The flood’s of God’s vengeance have been withheld; but your guilt in the meantime is constantly increasing….” From the Edwards sermon, states reasons through these points to procure his motive to his congregation that has gathered about. Both sentences are arranged in such syntax that both very well appeal to the listeners. Also, both speakers have the same motive to persuade the people they address.

Edwards purpose was to convert the non-believers of Christ in his congregation, by using God as his supportive argument to obtain the audiences attention, to go deep into the people’s emotions and fill them fear. “There is nothing but the mere pleasure of God that hold’s the waters back….”(Edwards). Within this sentence, Edwards the speaker captivates his audiences attention through his harsh, harmful and threatening tone of voice.

Jefferson’s purpose for the Declaration of Independence was to declare freedom from Britain. “…A decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation….” (Jefferson). The opening sentence of the Declaration of Independence has a much different approach to procure the audiences attention then did Edwards. Jefferson’s tone is much more calm, smooth and well expressed, then Edwards’s aggressive tone.

“The separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind….” (Jefferson). ” It is true that judgment against your evil works has not been executed hitherto….” (Edwards). Jefferson has respect for the Americans, so he’s fighting for there cause. Whereas Edward thinks the whole mankind is evil and everything¬†they do is a sin, so he’s trying to convert people back into God’s grace. Even though these two have a totally different motive, both are trying to persuade people.

The similarities between these two are there motive to persuade, but they both persuade through emotional appeal. ” The laws of nature and nature’s God entitle them….” (Jefferson). ” The floods of God’s Vengeance have been withheld…” (Edwards). Both use God to support their main idea. Also when delivering there speeches to the public, both are truly passionate and determined about there cause. The structure of both of these sentences is long, but fit for what they are written for.

Jefferson uses a cumulative sentence to reinforce and make his intriguing beginning to set into the people’s minds smoothly and without long pauses. Whereas, Edward uses a long sentence adding hyphens between to add pauses to what he is saying.

By comparing these two sentences I learned that to do something doesn’t mean it always has to be same. Jefferson persuades people and gains their attention in the beginning through reason, his calm tone and eloquent structure of his sentence. Edward who has totally different approach uses threatening remarks and creates fear in the people to try and persuade them to do what he wants. Both speakers were devoted to there cause and created a good argument to support their ideas.


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