The American Revolution

The American Revolution
?These are the times that try men?s souls. The summer
soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis,
shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands
it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman?
(Paine). With these words Thomas Paine?s inspiring, but
inflated rhetoric helped to transform a dispute about taxes
into a struggle for the soul of man. This kind of language
united the feuding colonies around a principle greater than
their own economic interests.
The American Revolution was headed for failure before
it could begin. The colonists were poorly organized, and
lacked the unity need to fight together. Jealousy raged
throughout the colonies. Individual states, proudly
regarding themselves as sovereign resented the attempts of
Congress to exercise its flimsy powers. Sectional jealousy
boiled up over the appointment of military leaders; some
distrustful New Englanders almost preferred British officers
to Americans from other section(Bailey et al. 137). Economic
problems challenged the colonists too. They were running
out of metallic money, and so Congress was forced to print
paper money. This money depreciated the moment it came off
the press. Inflation of the money increased the prices of
everything in the colonies. The soldiers who were out
fighting suffered the most. All of these problems greatly
contributed to the discontentment and discord of the
On the morning of April 19,1775 shots had been
exchanged by colonials and British, men had been killed. The
war was on in earnest, and the colonies were still not
unified to fight for the same cause. The lines were being
more clearly drawn between the pro-British and colonial
revolutionists(Columbia Encyclopedia). Loyalists were
numerous among farmers, large landowners, royal
officeholders, and professionals. They were found to be in
varying strength in every colony. A large part of the
population was more or less neutral. Thomas Paine, the
patriot, lover of liberty,(Hubbard 24) wanted to make the
colonies understand that liberty was the natural right of
every human being. ?His work was to make all men long for
their birthright. Paine wrote a pamphlet. Common Sense
which urged this colonial cause. Its influence was
tremendous, and it was read everywhere, and received
enthusiastic response.
Consider these words, and what kind of effect it would
have on the American patriot:
? When I contemplate the dignity of man; when I
feel for the honor and happiness of its character, I become
irritated at the attempt to govern mankind by force and
fraud, as if they were all knaves and fools and can scarcely
avoid disgust at who are these imposed upon.(Paine)
?A constitution is not the act of a government ,
but of a people constituting a government; and government
without a constitution is power without a right. All power
exercised over a nation must have some beginning. It must
be either delegated or assumed. There are no other sources.
All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is
usurpation. Time does not alter the nature and quality of
either.? (Paine)
These words not only rallied the troops, but rallied
the colonies. Paine?s sentiments were then echoed by Thomas
Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.
? All men are created equal; that they are endowed
by their creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that
among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness;
that to secure these rights governments are instituted among
them, deriving their just powers from the consent of the
governed.? ( Jefferson)
Some people would have you believe that political
sloganeering is a new invention, and that skillful,
manipulation by the media corrupts the political process.
However, without Common Sense and the Declaration of
Independence it is hard to believe that the American
colonies would have unified to produce the United States.

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