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Effectiveness Of The Tory And Whig Arguments Prior To The American Revolution

1202 words - 5 pages

Effectiveness of the Tory and Whig Arguments Prior to the American Revolution

In the eighteenth century, the American Revolution played a vital role
in determining the future of the American colonies. Prior to the
Revolution, propagandas from both the Tories and Whigs influenced the
choices that Americans make. Both sides exchanged attacks and
accusations in their publications, while also presenting realistic
evidence and logical reasoning to back their doctrine and arguments.
Two of the many documents preceding the Revolution are especially
interesting in terms of their structure of presentation. Letters of a
Westchester Farmer, composed by Reverend Samuel Seabury, offers
arguments favouring the Tories’ view and questions the effects the
Revolution will have on Americans. In response, Common Sense, written
by Thomas Paine, presents the Whigs’ view of the Revolution and
provides strong valid reasons to answer most of the charges made by
the Tories. Both Letters of a Westchester Farmer and Common Sense
share similarities and differences in their structure and evidence
that affect the degree of their effectiveness.

The structures of Letters of a Westchester Farmer and Common Sense
play a critical role in effectiveness. In Letters of a Westchester
Farmer, the author first describes the current situation of the
Americans. It says, “The American Colonies are unhappily involved in
a scene of confusion and discord. The bands of civil society are
broken; the authority of government weakened…”[1] Samuel Seabury then
addresses the depressing signs of the upcoming revolution, and
gradually gives reasons for his charge. For instance, he accuses the
Whigs of “taken no one step that tended to peace.”[2] To support this
statement, the reverend discusses the consequential disadvantages of
the Non-importation Agreement, the Non-exportation Agreement and the
Non-consumption agreement. He then provides logical reasons for his
claims throughout the document, focusing on the issue of those
agreements. This structure is extremely effective, given that the
arguments are sequential and connected. Likewise, Common Sense has a
similar structure that also creates a comparatively same degree of
effectiveness. The document first proposes its doctrine, “…as much
hath been said of the advantages of reconciliation, which, like an
agreeable dream, hath passed away…,”[3] and then answers each of the
charges the Tories make. Unlike the structure of the earlier
document, Common Sense poses a question or an accusation from the
Tories, and rebuts it with the Whigs doctrine and Paine’s reasoning.
The structure of this document is more effective in terms of impact.
As in the earlier document, the reverend does not counter Whigs’ view,
but only express his opinions about them. Contrary, this document

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