The declarations of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Thomas Jefferson were very similar in the way they modeled each other, but each declaration was written for different purposes

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The declarations of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Thomas Jefferson were very similar in the way they modeled each other, but each declaration was written for different purposes. In writing the “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions” Elizabeth Cady Stanton used similar tactics to those that Thomas Jefferson used in the Declaration of Independence. Stanton’s declaration was a parody from Jefferson’s and closely resembled his work.

Jefferson’s and Stanton’s similar techniques include the use of the periodic sentence, which was typical of the time. The first sentence of both declarations is periodic, the sentence was long and carefully balanced, and the main point comes at the end. Both writers used “He” or “For” and, is therefore, create parallel structure. Balance is also achieved by making each sentence the same length. The “He” Jefferson referred to is Britain’s King George III who was an absolute tyrant who wanted complete control for himself. Stanton referred “He” as a tyrant man.

The “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions” is modeled directly from the Declaration of Independence; we do not get a good idea of Stanton’s writing gifts. Stanton used the same one-paragraph utterances and exactly the same opening as Jefferson. Stanton exercised a powerful wit, by reminding her audience that when the Declaration of Independence was given, their was no thought about women. Jefferson stated “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. Jefferson wanted an entirely new government, but Stanton demanded equal participation of women with men in the government. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson said “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”. Stanton used the same form, but she stated “all men and women are created equal”. Stanton felt women should have more voice in the government, and should be equal with men. The Declaration of Independence was aimed at justifying a war. Stanton never implied a question about war in her address. Jefferson never instituted the “Resolved” in his address; Stanton introduced “Resolved” in her address to state a point about how women were originally being treated and what needed to be changed.

I believe Stanton’s “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions” is more of a strength because the document is especially effective in the way it parodies its model so closely. Because of the power of her model, her Declaration gathers strength and ironically undercuts the model. The same periodic sentences, parallelism, and balance are used to the same effect. She wanted to gain strength by using some of her statements about women that needed to be changed. Because of the close resemblance, we are never aware of Stanton’s rhetorical gifts. She uses the same structure Jefferson uses, that included the abuses and wrongs by the king, and things that needed to be made right.

Stanton’s declaration was directly modeled from Jefferson’s, and there were numerous similarities in the documents. Stanton and Jefferson wanted complete control from England to form a new government without any interference. Stanton wanted more rights for women; such as the right to vote, own property, and hold office in the government. Stanton used the same devices as Jefferson, but she also used her intelligence to make her point come across. Both authors of these declarations wanted a fresh new start for a country on the rise.

CJ Wiltz

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