Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What kind of impact did Thomas Paine have on the American Revolution? - Elizabeth Prince

The date was 1783 and the hope for independence filled minds of thousands of newly named "Americans".  It was not long until they recieved news that the war was over and that they were no longer Great Britian's citizens.  Tears of happiness spread throughout the colonies, for there were no more high tariffs to be paid and everyone could finally live by their own rules.  All those brave soldiers had finally claimed what they deserved, freedom.  This year marked one of the most important days of our country's history and is still celebrated today.  This event was the ending of The American Revolution.  But who could have had such a great influence of these people to persuade them to fight against their own neighbors, family, and friends?  The answer is the writer Thomas Paine.

Thomas Paine was not aware of what Common Sense would become while writing it.  It was written on January 10, 1776 and had a large number of 600,000 copies in America.  Almost one third of the population had read or came in contact with this book. (3) It was published anonymously in the fear that Paine could possibly get beheaded for writing such a treasonable thing. For many it became an anthem of the problems America was facing with Great Britian.  It was stated by "Covenant People" that Common Sense was "by far the most influential tract of the American Revolution....it remains one of the most brilliant pamphlets ever written in the English language." It gave them motivation to do something about what was happening rather than to just sit back and take it. (4) It was written in an easy format and instead of "fancy" or "flowery" words, it was not hard to read. It was written to apply to anyone who wanted to read it no matter of class. (2) The book was 79-pages long and it's purposed was to question English monarchy and the English Parliament. In regards to the monarch, Paine stated that "For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others forever.” (6) He claimed that the king was not trustworthy and that Americans should keep a watchful eye over his actions. (1) This book told how to fix things, and claimed that the English were "harmful to Americans".  It named all the pros of breaking apart from England.This book has been  deemed the "spark" of the Revolution.  It's vital success gave rise to the "Declaration of Independence" which was written six months later (5).

Not only did Thomas Paine write, he was also a soldier in Washington's army and contributed to the war effort.  He quit school at an early age of thirteen and held various jobs.  However, his big break came when Benjamin Franklin encouraged Paine to come to America.  Taking his advice, he did.  He wrote for the Pennsylvania Press and later become editor and discovered that he had talent and that writing was his muse. No matter his success, Paine died lonely, however, shunned away. He had roughly six people attend his funeral (5).




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