America’s triumph in the Revolutionary War against the British brought pure joy and glory. The Americans won! However, it was not without its struggles. It was essential to invoke passion and feeling from the people, otherwise the war would be lost in fear and doubt. One of those who urged people to join the movement, successfully strengthening their Patriotism, was Thomas Paine, an English-American political activist. In Thomas Paine’s “The Crisis,” he utilizes specific elements of style to persuade the Americans to unite and fight against Britain for liberty.
During the Revolutionary War, writers and orators publicly revealed their thoughts on how to respond to Britain’s further subjugation of the American colonies. After a futile hope for reconciliation and failed petitions to the British government, several patriots, such as Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry, called for the colonists to take up arms against the British. Through Paine’s Common Sense and Henry’s “Speech in the Virginia Convention”, they displayed an adamant message for the colonies to fight immediately. Both used the rhetorical elements of ethos, pathos, and logos within their respective works, and their various applications to the three elements allowed for their arguments to reach all ears and influence the majority of the population towards the fight for independence.
Many events happened during the period of time from 1763 through 1775 that changed American’s mindset as the country grew. Both people and events during this time affected the nation of the United States enormously. This time period changed the United States for better in it’s development as a nation. Specific people like Thomas Paine and Samuel Adams tenaciously tried to change the course of history; wars, such as the French and Indian war altered the perception of the American people. These events and people were some of the many that facilitated the colonists’ defiance against the British. Altercations they encountered turned the people of the newly formed Americas against the British aiding in their quest for independence.
Many began producing rhetoric speeches and poetry that showed their desire for independence and the anger that they were building up because they were turned down for their representation. A pamphlet titled the Common Sense by Thomas Paine brought upon the ideas that they should have independence from Britain and a republican government instead-this pamphlet became extremely popular and sold over 150,000 copies. The acts that did not give proper representation led the colonists to boycott and think individually for their country-it was a primary source to the revolutionary movement including the Revolutionary War that ended with success of the Americans.
The American Revolution was precipitated by the irritation of the wealthy due to tax acts imposed by Britain on the colonies. The rich did not like the taxes because of the negative effect the tax acts had on personal financial interests, but the Colonial masses were convinced by men like John Dickinson and Patrick Henry; Dickinson wrote extensively on how the British collection of taxes on the Colonies was illegal and Henry believed taxation shouldn’t be allowed unless the Colonies were properly represented. The writings of John Locke were also influential in creating interest for breaking away from Great Britain.
In the revolutionary period, many authors used rhetorical devices to persuade the colonists to fight against the British and win their independence.
Today we look back at the American Revolution and picture a united people fighting for inalienable rights, but to grasp the impact that Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” had upon his contemporaries we must understand the situation in the American colonies in 1776. When Paine wrote his pamphlet, the colonist and The Parliament in London, were almost 10 years into a debate over the rights of limited self-government by the colonies. In the months preceding the publication of Paine’s pamphlet the situation had steadily worsened until the April 19th, 1775 armed confrontation between Massachusetts colonists and British Army soldiers. By the end of that day, blood had been shed by both sides, and armed colonists placed the British garrison in Boston under siege. Despite this violence, most colonists viewed the events as a part of a struggle between Englishmen that would be resolved with the continued allegiance of the colonies to the Crown, but with more favorable treatment from London. It was with this popular mindset throughout the colonies, that Paine would deliver his “Common Sense” pamphlet arguing for complete independence from England. Paine understood that to make his argument resonate he needed to appeal to the public in a manner that had yet to be done.
Joseph J. Ellis, the author of “The Founding Brothers,” identifies and give a better vision of what is happening in the American Revolution. Ellis states, “On the inevitability side, it is true there was voices back then urging prospective patriots to regard American Independence as an early manifest destiny” (3). The book introduces the revolutionaries: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin. Ellis focuses on the characteristics, actions, events, and the ideologies differences that affect the American Revolution.
For many years America has been under the British rule with egregious taxes and an abundance of rules that were difficult for any man to follow. With the British taking charge of the Colonists they began to think of ways to rebel and oppose the British. They started with the Boston Tea Party; a historical event that changed the colonies forever. Patrick Henry gave a speech to the delegates using persuasive elements such as ethos, logos, and pathos, to push these men into a war against the british to one day be a free country.
The 1770s proved to be a time of much chaos and debate. The thirteen colonies, which soon gained their independence, were in the midst of a conflict with Great Britain. The colonies were suffering from repeated injuries and usurpations inflicted upon them by the British. As a result of these inflictions, Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry addressed these injustices, and proved to be very persuasive through providing reasoning and evidence that moved many colonists to believe that to reach contentment and peace the colonies had to rid themselves of British rule. Henry and Paine were successful in swaying their audience, not only because of the rhetorical strategies used, but also because they were passionate about the cause they were committed
Patrick Henry, one of the most, if not the most, influential politicians of eighteenth century America, wrote, and presented, the Speech in the Virginia Convention during a time of tension between Britain and its Colonies. As a spokesman of the independence movement, Henry continuously faced the threat of persecution by the British, yet he carried on expressing his beliefs explicitly until he earned the opportunity to attend the Virginia Convention, in which he respectfully, but courageously, argued that war with the British was inevitable. In doing this, he rallied the colonists into a fighting spirit, and one month later, the Revolutionary war had begun. Through his use of political rhetorical devices, such as, ethos, pathos, logos, and his infamous fallacy, Patrick Henry influences not only the colonists’ mindsets, but also their actions against the British King.
Lastly, we had two important people who helped the colonies colonize, which was John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. In 1761, John Adams began to think and write and act against British measures that he believed infringed on colonial liberties. Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, although his first draft was amended after consultation with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams and changed by Congress. Jefferson's reference to the commitment of colonists to the crown was struck; also deleted was a part that censured the monarchy for striking slavery upon America. They had two powerful people fighting for the independence for the colonies.
America Should Separate from the King Writers of the revolutionary period effectively persuaded colonists in the Americas to separate from the king by using techniques such as pathos, rhetorical questions, and parallelism to make the colonists realize the importance in fighting in the war, along with sparking a fear in them. Revolutionary writers such as Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine use these rhetorical devices to try and persuade the colonists to fight on the side of America during this war. In “These are the times that try men’s souls”, Thomas Paine displays pathos, rhetorical questions, and Parnellism throughout his writing to convince colonists why they should fight and how the British are not America’s friends. Patrick Henry on the other hand, in “Speech to the Virginia Convention” uses the same
Another theme of the text is "fear". Fear of loss of liberty in their homeland drove many colonists to begin thinking in Revolutionary terms, as previously mentioned. There was also fear on the English-side of an American rebellion. Fear is what drove England to force a standing British Army on the Americans. These fears would not subside and would eventually lead to war as neither side would back down.
Leading up to the American Revolution, were a chain of events that created a spark in the colonists to obtain independence from Great Britain. The American Revolution could not be tied to one single event but instead by the feelings and determination brought on by this chain of disgraceful actions. Gordon S. Wood explains what he believes caused the rebellion of the American colonists from Great Britain and how those causes help explain the outcomes of the revolution in his essay, “Radical Possibilities of the American Revolution.” Wood argues that the colonists were motivated to rebel against the British monarchy due to their need to preserve their liberties and through this revolution a radical change in government and American life occurred.