Declaring Independence: Jefferson, Natural Language & the Culture of Performance
This book sets the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution in general in the context of a revolution in rhetorical theory and practice that sought to discover a new language, a natural language equivalent to natural law that would permit, by its self-evidence, perfect understanding and the galvanising of public opinion. By demonstrating the intimate connections between the history of politics and the history of rhetoric and by tracing the larger issues of the Declaration to and through a wide array of cultural expressions - Declaring Independence offers, on the eve of the 250th anniversary of Jefferson's birth, the first full-length cultural contextualisation of America's founding document, as well as an interdisciplinary brief for reconsidering and enlarging the kinds of facts that are traditionally judged to be relevant to the understanding of a major historical document.
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actor agency agenda almanac American Revolution argued argument articulated audience Autobiography becomes Benjamin Benjamin Rush Boston Massacre British Burgh called character colonies Common Sense constituted Continental Congress copy countenance Courtesy crucial cultural Declaration of Independence described discourse distinction drama Dunlap broadside eighteenth-century Elocution eloquence emotion English essay expression Federalist feelings Figure Franklin George gestures Hannah Snell heart Hugh Blair human Ibid ideal insistence John Adams John Quincy Adams Kames Lectures letter liberty marks ment moral natural language Noah Webster one's orator oratory original Paine painting Papers paradox passions Patience Wright pauses Philadelphia Philip Freneau phrase political popular printed public speaking quoted reader Revolutionary rhetoric rough draft self-evident sentiments Sheridan sincerity social speaker speech suggests Summary View theatrical Thomas Jefferson Thomas Paine Thomas Sheridan tion Tory truth Virginia voice William words writing