SD #49 | The Declaration of Independence: A Treasure Trove of Writing Frameworks

#businessstorytelling #chatgpt #storyframeworks #storytelling Jul 05, 2023
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Read Time: 5.0 minutes. 


The art exists purely in the arrangement of words. 

 Philip Gerard 


What’s the Tip?

You can find out what writing framework is aligned with your taste or style by running your favorite document or piece of text through ChatGPT. Once you know what framework best suits you, you can start applying it in your own content creation.

How Do You Use It?

For example, you could type this prompt: I love the ((Declaration of Independence)). Please tell me what storytelling frameworks or persuasive communication techniques are behind it. (Remember, anything in prompt brackets can be customized).

When we typed in the above prompt, we were surprised with the range of answers we received, including the use of a storytelling framework we've written about recently, Monroe's Motivated Sequence.


What are Some Examples? 

Before we get into the response from our prompt, we wanted to let you know that ChatGPT made sure to state up front (and rightly so) that The Declaration of Independence was "primarily" authored by Thomas Jefferson, but he was not the sole author. Jefferson held the pen to be sure, but there was actually a committee assigned to the task that included Ben Franklin, John Adams, and others. The actual approved document contained more edits by the Continental Congress. 

In response to our query, ChatGPT goes on to share that several frameworks were used when writing the Declaration. The great thing is each of these frameworks can provide practical value in your daily writing. They can be used for routine emails as well as larger more complex communications to larger groups like your customers, teams, or prospects.

Here are the communication frameworks (beginning with the father of structured, persuasive communication, Greek philosopher, Aristotle):

 1. Aristotelian Rhetoric: The Declaration uses three modes of persuasion that Aristotle identified in his work Rhetoric — ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos establishes credibility, logos appeals to logic and reason, and pathos appeals to emotions. It's not surprising to find Aristotle heading this list.

Ethos: The signatories of the Declaration are representatives of the thirteen colonies, lending them credibility and authority.

Logos: The document details a list of grievances against King George III, each one a logical reason explaining why the colonies seek independence.

Pathos: The Declaration speaks to a sense of fairness, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness, tapping into strong emotional appeals.

2. Problem-Agitation-Solution Framework (P.A.S.): This is a short, classic, copywriting technique where the author identifies a problem, agitates that problem by amplifying its severity or impact, and then provides a solution. In the case of the Declaration, the problem is tyranny from the British Crown, agitation is detailed through the list of grievances, and the solution is proposed as independence from British rule. You'll find versions of P.A.S. all over social media, especially LinkedIn and Twitter. Once you see it, you can't unsee it!

 3. Narrative Storytelling: The Declaration tells a compelling story of the American colonies' journey from subjugation to rebellion. It starts with the premise that "all men are created equal", then moves through the conflict (a list of grievances against the British) and resolves with the decision to declare independence.

 4. Monroe's Motivated Sequence: This persuasion technique is often used in speeches to convince audiences to take action. It includes five steps: attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and action.

 • Attention: The Declaration starts with a philosophical preamble that grabs attention.

Need: It defines the need for change by listing the grievances against the King.

Satisfaction: The document suggests that the only satisfactory response is to declare independence.

Visualization: It presents a vision of an independent America where people have unalienable rights.

Action: The final part of the Declaration is the call to action - asserting the colonies' independence from British rule.

 5. Framing: The Declaration uses framing to present the situation in a certain light - casting the British Crown as the oppressor and the colonies as oppressed, making the case for independence more compelling.

Through these frameworks, the Declaration of Independence paints a vivid picture of the colonies' plight and presents a compelling case for their independence, demonstrating the power of well-crafted persuasion and storytelling.


What's the Benefit to You?

The above frameworks can help you on the front end or on the back end of your communications. You can select the one that you think suits your needs or style the best. A great way to determine your style is to select an ad, letter, landing page, or document and run it through the above ChatGPT prompt. You may be surprised to see what's returned! Regardless of your framework preference, you will be on the right track to structuring your content for maximum impact.



  1. ๐Ÿ“ChatGPT can analyze a piece of writing and identify the communication or storytelling frameworks used. ๐Ÿ“š
  2. ๐ŸงIn the Declaration of Independence, several such frameworks were identified. They were primarily penned by Thomas Jefferson, but others like Ben Franklin and John Adams were involved. ๐Ÿ–‹๏ธ
  3. ๐Ÿ›๏ธThe Aristotelian Rhetoric - ethos (credibility), logos (logic and reason), and pathos (emotions) - is heavily featured. This is widely utilized in persuasive communication. ๐Ÿ”บ
  4. ๐Ÿ’กThe Problem-Agitation-Solution (P.A.S.) Framework was used to illustrate the issues with British rule and propose independence as the solution. This method is frequently used in copywriting. ๐ŸŽฏ
  5. ๐Ÿ“–The Narrative Storytelling in the Declaration describes the journey of the American colonies from subjugation to rebellion. It's a key storytelling device. ๐Ÿš€
  6. ๐ŸŽ™๏ธMonroe's Motivated Sequence, a persuasion technique often used in speeches, follows the steps of attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and action. It was also applied. โญ๏ธ
  7. ๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธFraming was used to cast the British Crown as oppressors and the colonies as oppressed, making the independence case more compelling. ๐ŸŽญ

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