The American Crisis By Thomas Paine

1362 words - 5 pages

During 1776, the United States was at war to gain its own independence from the hands of the tyrant King George III and his kingdom. As the fightt continued, the spirits of the U.S. soldiers began to die out as the nightmares of winter crawled across the land. Thomas Paine, a journalist, hoped to encourage the soldiers back into the fight through one of his sixteen pamphlets, “The American Crisis (No.1)”. In order to rebuild the hopes of the downhearted soldiers, Thomas Paine establishes himself as a reliable figure, enrages them with the crimes of the British crown, and, most importantly evokes a sense of culpability.
The initial paragraphs of Paine’s pamphlet establish to his audience that he is a reliable figure. While Paine talks about the journey they have gone so far, he tells his audience about their status in the war so far by saying, “we did not make a proper use of last winter, neither could we were in a dependent state” (108). By starting out with igniting the start of getting the audience angry, Paine then goes on to kill the flame a little by blaming the audience of their position so far, but is able to keep his audience on his path by blaming himself in his words by using the inclusive pronoun “we”. Continuing on by saying that, “the fault if it were one, was all our own… But no great deal is lost yet”, then goes on to have his audience still on his path, but then starts to build himself up as a reliable figure by saying that he believes that they are not finished yet and evoking the spirit that they can do it. Besides this initial effort to have his audience trust and believe his words, a common enemy begins to be established between Paine and the audience in which he goes on to say, “God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamites of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent” (108). In establishing to claim God is with the audience and that God will not give up on the audience, Paine makes himself seem as a more reliable person by connecting with his audience through similar beliefs, but also continuing to have a firm, determined tone in his words but using words like “will” instead of “might”. It is this language that allows Paine to create a unifying bridge with his audience to go on in his speech in order to achieve his purpose of rebuilding his audience’s hope.
After establishing himself as a trustworthy friend to his audience by connecting with them and being confident, Paine continues to work to achieve his purpose by infuriating his audience with the corrupted actions of the British crown. Paine syllogistically premises “the king of Britain can look up to heaven for help against us,” and then logically concludes that the king is, “a common murder, a highway man … [and a] housebreaker” (108). The use of the ad hominem fallacy here gets the audience angry who the king really is and that he, “look[s]...

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