PersuasionLesson 9: Persuasion in Historical Documents
9.1: Explore Vocabulary from the Declaration of IndependenceYou will be reading the Declaration of Independence and considering it as an effective piece of persuasive writing.Before we read, we will familiarize ourselves with key terms used in the piece.With your partner, complete SA9A, a vocabulary web for your assigned word from the Declaration of Independence.UnanimousperfidyAnnihilationusurpationsMagnanimityjurisdictionDespotismacquiesceUnalienablerectitudeConsanguinity
9.2 Literature Web for the Declaration of Independence What issues faced the authors of the Declaration of Independence?What was the purpose of writing it?Take out your copy of the Declaration of Independence. We will read it together. While we read, note any questions you have to help clarify the meaning of words and phrases.Turn to SA9B. Work with your partner to complete the Literature Web for the Declaration of Independence.Be prepared to share your web with the class.
9.3 Reasoning in the Declaration of IndependenceAccording to its first two paragraphs, what is the purpose of the Declaration of Independence? In these paragraphs, what words and phrases express the point of view of the Second Continental Congress?Which specific sentence or sentences in the preamble (second paragraph) of the Declaration of Independence summarize the problem or issue?Why does the Declaration of Independence state, Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes?How does this statement strengthen the argument presented in the Declaration of Independence?
9.3 Reasoning in the Declaration of IndependenceWhat are some specific pieces of evidence provided in support of the argument presented in the Declaration of Independence?Use the standards of reasoning to evaluate the reasons.Does the evidence provided justify the claim that King George III was a tyrant unfit to be the ruler of a free people?Why or why not?Who was the intended audience for the Declaration of Independence?How do you know?How might different audiences have reacted to it?
9.3 Reasoning in the Declaration of IndependenceWhat consequences and implications might this document have had for its authors?How was Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, an agent for change in colonial America? How was the Declaration of Independence itself a catalyst for change?
9.4 Consider the Language of PersuasionWhy is the Declaration of Independence an example of persuasive writing?Do you feel that the argument presented in Declaration of Independence is effective? Why or why not?A convincing argument not only presents strong reasons, but also expresses those reasons effectively.Take out SA 9C. We will complete this page together.Take out SA 9D. Take notes on this page as we discuss how the Language of Persuasion is used in Declaration of Independence.
9.4 Discussion Questions: Word ChoiceJefferson uses the words dissolve the political bands to describe the efforts to separate from Great Britain. What efforts were actually being made to dissolve those bands?Why are the words rebellion and revolution not used?Find several adjectives used to describe the people of the colonies. Find several adjectives used to describe the British. How might the choice of adjectives influence the readers understanding of events?
9.4 Discussion Questions: Figurative Language Find examples of figurative language in the Declaration of Independence. Why is the phrase swarms of Officers used?Why does the Declaration of Independence compare the actions of the foreign Mercenaries to those of the most barbarous ages?
9.4 Discussion Questions: Sentence PatternsConsider the series of sentences outlining the actions of King George III. How does each sentence begin?What is the effect of the repetition?Some of the most well-known words from the Declaration of Independence are near its beginning Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness and at its very end our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.What do you notice about these two series?Why do you think they are memorable?Why do you think three items and not four or five, or only one or two are included in each case?Try to find other examples of phrasing that reflects numerical patterns.
9.4 Discussion Questions:Imitative Language PatternsLife, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness is itself a variation on a phrase that was common at the time. For example, in his Second Treatise of Government, John Locke wrote that reason teaches all mankind that being equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.Similarly, in its Declaration of Colonial Rights, the First Continental Congress claimed that the colonists are entitled to life, liberty, and property.How is the version in the Declaration of Independence different form its precursors?What is the effect of the difference?
9.4 Discussion Questions:Concrete and Abstract ImagesFind instances of the words tyrant and tyranny in the Declaration of Independence. What are the implications of these words?Is King George III ever called a tyrant directly?Why or why not?Why do you think the Declaration of Independence does not refer to any specific dates, events, or colonies?In what ways does the text apply generally to the situation of all 13 colonies?
Keep SA 9C available for reference throughout the unit.
Persuasive Letter Directions Make a list of issues that concern you.Next to each issue on the list, write the name of a person or organization to whom you could write a persuasive letter expressing your opinion on the issue.For one of your homework assignments, you will choose one of the issues and write a rough draft of a persuasive letter about that issue.This draft is due Monday, October 28.
Prepare for HomeworkTake out your copy of the Gettysburg Address.What is the historical context for this document?For another of your homework assignments, you will consider the elements of the Language of Persuasion that President Lincoln used in the address.
Response JournalRespond to the following prompt in your Response Journal:Imagine that you were one of the representatives in the Second Continental Congress. Would you have signed the Declaration of Independence right away, or would you have argued about certain parts of it? Why? What arguments might have persuaded you one way or the other? Write a paragraph to explain your decision and reasons.HomeworkComplete your second novel by tomorrow. You should also have completed the written responses on either worksheet 1B (Group A) or 1C (Group B).Read the Gettysburg Address and complete SA 9E.This is due tomorrow!Draft a persuasive letter expressing your opinion about an issue about which you are genuinely concerned. Your letter should address a person or organization with influence over the issue.Use the Hamburger Model and the Standards of Reasoning to guide you as you write your letter.This is due before Lesson 12. ___________________________