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Logos, Pathos and Ethos in Abigail Adams' Letter to John Adams

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Many think of freedom as the ability to do what you please, but the reality is that freedom is the ability to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance. Many also fail to ask themselves: What supports freedom? You may think that the Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, or any other document is what establishes and preserves freedom, but what you failed to know is that ethos, pathos, and logos are the best tools for establishing and preserving freedom because they establish the writer’s authority, manipulate the reader’s emotions, and alters the thoughts of the audience.

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Ethos establishes the author’s authority. It’s one of the most powerful devices a writer can use. Ethos can be used in documents, speeches, etc. Without ethos, documents can’t be trusted. In the document named “Speech in the Convention”, Benjamin Franklin, a founding father of the U.S. Constitution, shares his opinion of the U.S. Constitution and uses ethos for credibility. “I confess that I do not entirely approve of this constitution at present; but, sir, I am not sure I shall never approve of it… ” – Speech in the Convention Benjamin Franklin establishes his authority by claiming why he favors the U.S. Constitution and by claiming why he disfavors the U.S. Constitution. He shows that he is on both sides of the argument and that his opinions are unbiased. Appeal to authority isn’t going to make a good essay/source itself, they’ll also need some pathos.

Pathos manipulates the reader’s emotions. It’s also one of the most powerful devices a writer can use. Just like ethos, pathos can be used in documents, speeches, etc. Without pathos, documents would not be so interesting. In the document named “The Declaration of Independence”, Thomas Jefferson uses pathos to manipulate your emotions. “…from the consent of the governed…” – The Declaration Independence Thomas Jefferson manipulates the reader’s emotions by giving the people what they want (more power) so that they find the constitution more favorable. Like the other appeals, appeal to emotion and appeal to authority aren’t going going to make a good essay/source themselves, they’ll also need some logos.

Logos alters the thoughts of the audience. Like the other appeals, it is one of the most powerful devices a writer can use and can be used in documents, speeches, etc. Without logos, documents, speeches, etc. would be questioned because they wouldn’t have evidence to back up their claims. In the document named “Letter to John Adams/From Dear Abigail”, Abigail Adams uses logos to alter the thoughts of the audience. “That your sex is tyrannical is a truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute.” – Letter to John Adams/From Dear Abigail

Abigail Adams alters the thoughts of the audience by having strong opinions and supporting them with facts. These literary devices don’t work well alone, however, other literary devices don’t work together as well as these literary devices.

Ethos, pathos, and logos are the ideal devices for constructing and protecting independence as they form the novelist’s jurisdiction, control the reader’s sentiment, and change the notions of the crowd. Appeal to emotion, appeal to authority, and appeal to logic aren’t going to make a good essay/source themselves, they’ll need to coexist in the same sentence (or) on the same paragraph, and on the same page.  

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