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Passive Voice + The Declaration of Independence

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Sarah Wakefield

on 24 September 2014

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Transcript of Passive Voice + The Declaration of Independence

You probably are familiar with at least a sentence or two from the Declaration of Independence. Examine the excerpt below for
sentences written in passive voice:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.


Rewriting the Declaration of Independence
("For Group Discussion," p47 of the textbook)
all men are created equal
Some Examples
Who created all men equal?
Who institutes governments among Men?
Who does not change Governments?
BY WHOM?! Obscure Agents
CLEAR AGENT
Men are endowed by whom? Their Creator.
Rewrite the passive sentences as active. Supply agents as needed.
Example:

All men are created equal.

Revisions: God created all men equal.

The Creator created all men equal.

A higher power created all men equal.


Their Creator endows them with certain unalienable Rights.

Men institute Governments among themselves.

Men should not change Governments long established for light and transient causes.


they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights
Governments are instituted among Men
Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes
Some Possible Active Revisions
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that a higher power created all men equal, that their Creator endowed them with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, men institute Governments among themselves, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

What do you think of the overall effect?
Full transcript