Declaration of Causes & Necessity of Taking Up Arms, Continental Congress, July 1775 Facilitator Prep/Text Analysis
The full title of this document is: A Declaration by the Representatives of the United Colonies of North-America, Now Met in Congress at Philadelphia, Setting Forth the Causes & Necessity of Their Taking Up Arms.
Who is writing?
-The authors of this document include Thomas Jefferson, John Dickenson, Samuel Eliot, Henry Steele Commager, & William E. Leuchtenburg.
Who is the audience?
-This document pertains to a number of audiences, such as the Legislature of Great Britain, the United Colonies of America, as well as “the rest of the world, to make known the justice of our (colonists) cause”
Who do the Writers Represent?
-The writers of this document represent the United Colonies of America.
What is being said, argued and/or requested?
-The purpose of this document is to justify the United Colonies of America’s cause in taking up arms.
Among the causes stated against Britain are; “for depriving us (colonists) of the accustomed and inestimable privilege of trial by jury, for suspending the legislature of one of the colonies, for interdicting all commerce to the capital of another, for exempting the murders of colonists from legal trial, and in effect from punishment, for erecting in a neighboring province, acquired by the joint arms of Great-Britain and America, a despotism dangerous to our (colonies) very existence, and for quartering soldiers upon the colonists in time of profound peace…
This document demonstrates that even though the colonies attempted to be reasonable to the British Parliament “in the most mild and decent language”, and “pursued every temperate, reasonable measure” only to have their petitions ignored, to have their countrymen butchered, Charlestown and civil houses burned down, to have their ships and vessels seized, their supplies and provisions intercepted, and to receive destruction and devastation from the troops of General Gage.
The authors of this document present the two choices that they have-1. Unconditional submission to tyranny 2. Resistance by force
The colonists choice to take up arms in a sense is a declaration for war against Britian.
How is it being said, argued or requested?
-This document is presented in a mild professionally formal manner in order to prove justification for the colonists taking up arms. The style is very polite, reasonable, and persuasive, proving its point successfully as well as leaving the statement that taking up arms is an inevitability for the Colonial states.
What proof and/or justifications are being used to legitimize the request?
- The authors of this document give reasons to justify their decision to take up arms and explain the consequences of not submission. The authors show knowledge on the topic they are trying to justify and seem very credible and persuasive. (explained in what is being argued or requested)