Would you call the tone of the Declaration of Independence "chatty"? Or is its seeming formality just an effect of shifts in diction over the last few centuries?
In this piece on the prose style that was inaugurated (along with the nation) with the Declaration of Independence, Morgan Weis claims that
It is an almost impossibly tricky line to establish, the one between revolution and prudence. In establishing it, Jefferson not only formulates a new approach to government, he inaugurates a new prose style, an American prose. Its central principle is the following: When addressing matters difficult and august, it is best to be chatty. There is a danger in this approach. It is the danger of shallowness. Many Americans since Jefferson have fallen victim to that danger. But in the hands of a master this style has the virtue of honesty and confidence in the face of the profound.What say you? Is chattiness ingrained not just in our conversational and social makeup, but in the very way Americans use language itself? Do we tend to more prosaic speech the more profound our subject matter?