British Literature: Past and Present Essay

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     British literature continues to be read and analyzed because the themes, motifs and controversies that people struggled with in the past are still being debated today. The strongest themes that were presented in this course related to changing governments, the debate about equity between blacks and whites, men and women and rich and poor, and the concern about maintaining one’s cultural identity.
     The evolution of governments was a constant theme throughout the course, beginning with the lesson on the Introduction to Romanticism, where Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin debated the equity between rich and poor that was tearing France
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83).”
     Thomas Paine’s argument also still reverberates today as even the United States government continues to be reshaped based on what its citizens desire. Paine’s theory, that people who are living have more rights to construct their own rules than people who have died, is still a guiding principle outlined in the United States Constitution.
          “I am contending for the rights of the living, and against their being willed                away, and controlled and contracted for, by the manuscript assumed                authority of the dead; and Mr. Burke is contending for the authority of the                dead over the rights and freedom of the living (The Longman Anthology of           British Literature, The Rights of Man and the Revolution Controversy, p.                85).”
     

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