Analyzing the Text
Jefferson says that a society’s actions against another society must be explained, and he supports it by providing all of his reasoning for the colonies’ separation from Britain.
When the government is not supporting/ improving a society, that society has the right to form a different and improved system for governing themselves.
He uses parallelism with his repetition of “that” which strengthens his argument by giving many instances and examples of freedoms missing under the British government.
Governments are to secure the rights of people with their consent. When the Government abuses its power and prevents the people from having these rights (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) it is the right of the people to throw off the government and establish another.
despotism, guards, sufferance, tyranny: The language Jefferson chooses reinforces the idea that the colonies have suffered an injustice by the King. It helps provoke anger towards the British, especially when these words of blame are compared to the duty of state listed above.
The list of complaints shows the extent of the grievances held against the British. It explains exactly, and with great detail, how the British (specifically the King) withheld the three rights of man. The length of the list, and its position as the biggest part of the document, shows that this is where Jefferson is most indignant. He wants to stress these complaints so as to convince his reader that the Americans are right in demanding liberty.
The conclusion builds upon ideas already discussed in the rest of the document but states them here concisely. It uses language (like authority, right, power) to drive home the point that the United States have a legitimate right to be free. The long sentence in the beginning, with its many commas and pauses, makes it more serious— it takes its time in being said, and in doing so reinforces the gravity of the situation. In addition, the repetition of ideas (freedom, independent) emphasizes the purpose of Jefferson’s speech.