Timeless communication lessons from the Declaration of Independence

The document that cast the vision for our nation 241 years ago has plenty to teach communicators today about eloquence, passion, persuasion and style.

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We remember the battles, the Brits and Benjamin Franklin, but we so often forget the clarion call that launched our new nation into being: The United States Declaration of Independence.

Modern eyes might find this missive musty, archaic and insensitive. (I imagine most 241-year-old artifacts are.) However, timeless truths can be plucked from this remarkable document—especially for those who communicate for a living.

Let’s have a look at four takeaways from the declaration that stand the test of time:

1. All men (and women) are created equal

“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.”

Perhaps the most famous words of the declaration, these embody the essence of America’s highest ideals. Sadly, we seem to have lost sight of this profound notion.

The proliferation of social media and 24/7 connectivity has made it easy to dehumanize people. We’re quick to mock, slander and humiliate. Executives issue layoff notices that read more like furniture recalls.

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