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Comparision Of Pericles Funeral Speech,And Jefferson Declaration Of Independence

2092 words - 9 pages

September 11, 2001, two planes crash into the World Trade Center, people diving out windows to their deaths, a plane crashes into the Pentagon, hijackers overtaken by passengers and crash the plane into a field in Pennsylvania. December 2003, mass graves uncovered in Iraq, compliments of Saddam Husayn. May, 2004, a web page shows terrorists cutting off the head of Nick Berg. August 2004, over 350 children are executed by terrorists in a school in Russia. Democracy is being threatened by enigmatic zealots all over the world.The United States have fought for Democracy as far back as the Revolutionary War, and both World Wars. Once again our military is being asked to make the ultimate ...view middle of the document...

Pericles praises Athens for her form of government - democracy - because it is only in a democracy that citizens are encouraged to contribute and participate in self-rule. Democracy brings equality, merit brings public success, social and economic mobility is encouraged, and the law protects all: "We alone consider the man who refuses to take part in city affairs useless," Pericles announces. And he gets in a dig at Sparta by proudly proclaiming that "rather than look upon discussion as a stumbling-block in the way of action, we think it is an indispensable preliminary to any wise action at all."Pericles encourages his audience "to realize the greatness of Athens" and enjoy everything the city has to offer: "Further, we provide many ways to refresh the mind from the burdens of business. We hold contests and offer sacrifices all the year round, and the elegance of our private establishments forms a daily source of pleasure and helps to drive away sorrow. The magnitude of our city draws the produce of the world into our harbor, so that to the Athenian the fruits of other countries are as familiar a luxury as those of his own." What Pericles talks about in his speech is almost dimmed in importance by how he delivers the message. It is Pericles' rhetoric that makes this speech famous and the model for so many others in the course of history. Throughout his speech, Pericles holds up glory as the incentive for men to rush to battle for their freedom: Athens is a glorious city because of the sacrifices of previous generations of men, and this generation, too, must shoulder its burden. And while fighting for your country can help bring about a victory, it also has the benefit of bringing you personal glory, something Pericles believes can be gained in no other way than by dying for your country: "Realize for yourself the power of Athens, and feed your eyes upon her day after day, till you become her devoted lover. Then, when all her greatness breaks upon you, reflect that it was by courage, sense of duty and a keen feeling of honor in action that men were enabled to win all this, and that no personal failure in an enterprise could make them consent to deprive their country of their valor, but they laid it at her feet as the most glorious contribution they could offer. By this mutual offering of their lives made by them all, they each of them individually received that renown which never grows old. For a sepulcher they have won not so much that tomb in which their bones are here deposited, but that noblest of shrines wherein their glory is laid up to be eternally remembered upon every occasion on which deed or story shall fall for its commemoration. For heroes have the whole earth for their tomb." Pericles' speech is certainly persuasive. Its passion is based in reality. It is a powerful to see a nation mourn its war dead. In the end Pericles accomplishes his goal to inspire a city in mass mourning for its lost warriors.Woodrow Wilson was faced with a...

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