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Thomas Paine's "The Crisis"

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Amanda Freedman

on 28 March 2014

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Transcript of Thomas Paine's "The Crisis"

Thomas Paine's "The Crisis"
Rhetoric in the Crisis
Thomas Paine used rhetoric to convince his audiences that they should revolt against the British monarchy and fight for American independence.

Paine uses common rhetorical devices such as personification, strong imagery, and allusions to appeal to his audience.
Rhetoric Review
Ethos: Appeal to ethical reasoning

Logos: Appeal to logical reasoning

Pathos: Appeal to emotional reasoning
Paine's Purpose
Thomas Paine's purpose in writing "The Crisis, Number 1” is to unify the nation to fight against Britain's injustice

Paine's other purpose for his speech is to
the king and the way he is treating the country.
Crisis Fun Facts
The "Crisis No. 1" was read aloud to the continental army, which Paine was a part of, before the Battle at Trenton in efforts to boost morale and unify the soldiers against the patriots.

The Crisis pamphlets were written in everyday language which the common citizen could understand

Paine wrote a series of 16 pamphlets entitled "The American Crisis". The first document of this pamphlet is called "Crisis No. 1".

"Crisis No. 1" was published on December 23, 1776

The Crisis No. 1 was read to or read by more people than today watch the Super Bowl

Crisis No. 1
Pay close attention to which rhetorical appeals are being used in Paine's "Crisis No. 1"
The Rhetorical Triangle
Paine's Audience
Paine was addressing all of the worn out colonists who were discouraged and weary from fighting (emotionally or physically) the monarchy.

Many supporters of the Revolution were either hesitant about Independence or opposed it.

Paine was very influential in changing their minds to a full support of Independence.
Crisis Animation Video
Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine was born in the town
of Thetford, England on January 29, 1737.

After having failed at many jobs available in his town, Paine decided to move to Philadelphia where he turned into a journalist.

At one point in his life Paine traveled with the continental army but failed as a solider; though the army inspired him to write The Crisis Number 1 in December 23, 1776 which encouraged the soldiers to keep fighting.

Paine’s patriotism and anti-monarchist angered Britain because they saw it as him betraying his own country but this did not stop him from encouraging America to fight for their freedom.
Logical Appeals
“I cannot see on what grounds the king of Britain can look up to heaven for help against us: a common murderer, a highwayman, or a housebreaker, has as good a pretense as he…”

Reminding the people that the king means as much as any corrupt man to God.
Emotional Appeals
"Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America.”

This would extract pride
In a time of hardship, remind the people of America’s beauty

“Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods…”
“Not a place on earth might be so happy as America”

Gives human characteristics to America: hadn’t had too many bad runs yet, Fresh place

For America and Britain, uses “she instead of “them”
because they need to work as a unit(singular)
“Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth.”

This is a metaphor because Britain’s tyranny is being compared to slavery; Paine wants the readers to understand how harsh Britain was treating the Americans and that it was unacceptable to keep obeying Britain’s rules.


By using the simile, "Tyranny, like hell...", he implies that Britain's control over them will not be easy to overcome.
Paine uses imagery in order to get his point across easier to the people. Throughout his speech he compares the king to the devil and other terrible things to justify the actions that he is requesting from the people. The king, “like hell, is not easily conquered”.

By using the devil as a symbol to represent the king the people may be more encouraged to fight for the cause. He also repeats this comparison to keep that image in the people's head. He tells the people that God has not “given us up to the care of devils”. He also describes a man in a tavern “with as pretty a child in his hand” to appeal to the people because they are not only fighting for themselves but for the future generations.
Summer soldier and sunshine patriot have two similar meanings.

The summer soldier signed up for the army in the summer time but then deserted when the harsh winter came.

The sunshine patriot was someone who supported their country when everything was nice and easy, but also 'deserted' when the going got tough.
Thomas Paine was a Deist.
Deism is the belief that there was a God who created the physical earth, but there is no other communication between God and people.

Diests believe that there are no revelations, prophecies or miracles. They believe that God has a plan for the universe and it is being played out.
Full transcript