AP Lang and Comp
March 27th, 2017
Nation of Freedom
A question often asked when looking back at the revolutionary war is how did a bunch of farmers and peasants defeat the largest army of trained soldiers, but a more suited question is why did a bunch of farmers and peasants fight the largest army in the world. Through the inspirational words of authors and orators alike, thousands of colonists took up arms to fight the redcoats. The colonists who answered the call came from all sorts of backgrounds, but they all shared a common goal of creating a nation of freedom. The torment and tyranny of parliament and King George set the charges and explosives, leaving only the need for a spark to start the revolution. This spark, provided by the brilliant words of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, and many other leaders, set off an explosion that shook the world and would soon usher in an era of freedom and democracy. The brave men who gave their lives fighting for freedom did so not because it would be easy for them, but because life would easier for their posterity. The influential and inspirational effects of these works are credited to the literary and oratory strategies utilized to speak to the weary soldiers, skeptical colonist, patriotic americans, and even those loyal to the crown.
The drive for a revolution was fueled by the encouragement weary soldiers received while in their darkest hour through inspirational aphorisms reminding them what they’re fighting for. “An aphorism is a short, pointed statement expressing a wise or clever observation or a general truth” which many colonist stood behind and fought for(“Aphorisms”). Thomas Paine had aphorisms riddle throughout his piece The American Crisis as a way to make his arguments strong and memorable and to inspire courage in those who were fearful. A few of these examples include, “the harder the conflict the greater the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: ‘tis dearness only that gives everything its value,” and, “lay your shoulders to the wheel; better to have too much force than too little”(Paine 123). Soldiers were encouraged to “stay the course” and fight not only for a nation of freedom, but for their loved ones who died along the way(The Patriot). The character Benjamin Martin restored the courage of men on the battlefield and it is men like him and Thomas Paine who encouraged the weary soldiers to persevere through difficult times. These short generalized statements resonate through the lines of soldiers and the homes of every colonist, each making a deep connection with them and take them to a person level.
Skeptical colonists were reached on a personal level through the use of rhetorical questions making them think deeper about the need for freedom and why they should fight back against the tyranny and mistreatment by Britain. One of the greatest orators in american history is Patrick Henry an exceptional lawyer who honed...