Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Crisis No. 1

The Crisis is exactly the sort of piece that I enjoy reading most. Its talks about victory over tyranny and how hard work in hard times gives way to glorious freedom. Perfect. Even with these emotional arguments, the document still fits very well into the rationalist style of writing because of all of the reason it uses to justify the hard work and loss the revolution requires.

Thomas Paine compares the king and parliament to common thieves and robbers, saying that if a common person attempted to control him in the same way, he would certainly rebel against them. The fact that it is a king instead of a commoner makes no difference (Paine 136). This is an argument based on reason to have people consider just how unfair the English government had treated them. Another rational argument used is that when parliament passed the Declaratory Act containing the phrase "to bind [the colonies] in all cases whatsoever" it basically amounted to slavery (Paine 134). While this argument does appeal a good deal to emotion, it also has its base in reason. If parliament can make the colonies bend to its every bonny whim, then the colonies really have no will of their own and might as well be enslaved.

Although this pamphlet was to be read aloud to the members of the Continental Army, it was not written for them alone. The Crisis was written for everybody in America. It was written for people who could do still more, and for people who were still on the fence about whether or not the revolution was a good thing. The purpose was not only to convince the soldiers to keep fighting, but also to try to convince more people to join the fight for independence. Thomas Paine writes, "Say not that thousands are gone- turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but "show your faith by your works," that God may bless you." (Paine 136) This was directed toward the religious people in the colonies (also known as all of them), and to pull them into the revolutionary conflict. By presenting the Revolutionary War as a struggle of good against evil as he does, he really makes the reader want to join the cause. When I read it even I could not help but think that if I had been living at the time and had read that pamphlet, I would have done absolutely everything in my power to help in the revolution.

Thomas Paine's primary reason for writing The Crisis was to gather up support for the revolution. He truly believed that the American Revolution was worth all of the hardship that came with it, and that he was doing his best to further the cause of liberty. The Crisis probably had a very great impact on the people of the colonies, and probably caused many otherwise indifferent people to join the cause of liberty. The Crisis was a very effective pamphlet.

Paine, Thomas. "The Crisis No.1." Comp. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Ph.D. and Douglas Fisher, Ph.D. Glencoe Literature. American Literature ed. Columbus: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2009. 97-99. Print.


  1. I love your writing style! It keeps me very interested and entertained yet gets the message that you are trying to get across very well. I also feel that the information you give is very accurate. The only criticism I can think of is maybe include more about the Rationalism period and how it relates just because that is what were basing the blogs over. All in all very good though and very interesting to read! Good job Anna!

  2. I really like your writing style as well! I also liked how you wrote a little conclusion to end it because not everyone does that. I do agree with Kirsten in the fact that maybe you should include more about Rationalism. Other than that it was great!