The Declaration of Independence Rhetorical Appeals Activity

  • 11 pages
  • Subject: Ethos, Logos, Pathos, Rhetorical Devices, Lesson Plans and Educational Resources
  • Common Core Standards: RI.11-12.3, RI.11-12.5, RI.11-12.6, RI.11-12.9, RI.9-10.3, RI.9-10.5, RI.9-10.6, RI.9-10.9

Product Description

Primarily penned by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence was brought before the Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776, and signed by representatives of the thirteen colonies. The document, announcing the separation of the United States from Great Britain, represents a turning point in the Revolutionary War and the birth of American democracy. It is a rhetorically powerful piece, employing ethos, pathos, and logos to convey the United States’s case for political independence.

Skills: analysis, close reading, drawing inferences from text, examining the impact of diction on audience

About This Document

The Owl Eyes Rhetorical Appeals activity gives students an opportunity to practice examining and analyzing the Aristotelian rhetorical appeals: ethos, pathos, and logos. Students will analyze selected rhetorical appeals from the text to determine which appeal they best represent and explain the appeal’s impact. The main components include the following:

  • A brief introduction to the text
  • A detailed handout on rhetorical appeals
  • A list of tips for spotting rhetorical appeals
  • A step-by-step guide to activity procedure
  • A detailed answer key for teachers

In completing this worksheet, students will be able to examine and analyze Aristotle’s three rhetorical appeals in order to evaluate works of rhetoric and the techniques they employ.