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The Spirit of Independence: Establishing the Character of the Declaration of Independence

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

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abstract
The Declaration of Independence is a document with a rich history in American public discourse. Countless books, speeches, and films have relied on its rhetoric to argue their points. However, it is not clear what method we should use to apply the Declaration outside of its original historical context. This thesis develops a rhetorical lens for validly applying a text to contexts other than its own. It argues that texts contain a spirit. The spirit of a text is its general personality, composed of moral, practical, and relational values hidden in the text. By discovering the spirit of the text, rhetoricians can apply classic texts to contemporary controversies. Thus, this thesis both develops the idea of textual spirits and explores the Declaration of Independence’s textual spirit. In doing so, it provides a means for bringing classic texts back into public discourse.
subject
American Revolution
Declaration of Independence
Ethos
hermeneutics
History
Public discourse
contributor
Dockery, David Douglas (author)
Zulick, Margaret D. (committee chair)
Mancall, Peter C. (committee member)
date
2021-06-03T08:35:49Z (accessioned)
2021-06-03T08:35:49Z (available)
2021 (issued)
degree
Communication (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/98779 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
The Spirit of Independence: Establishing the Character of the Declaration of Independence
type
Thesis

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