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Influencial Person during the American Revolution - Essay Example

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Summary
Of the numerous writers, diplomats, generals, and other important and influential figures in the American Revolution, one that stands out among the rest is Thomas Paine. A writer of simple words, yet drastic and assertive ideas, he published not only a pamphlet but what came to be known as almost a doctrine of influence and inspiration in his work of “Common Sense”…
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Influencial Person during the American Revolution
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Influencial Person during the American Revolution

Download file to see previous pages... He was born in Thetford, England, to a corset-maker father and a religious mother, both of whom were Quakers1. He enrolled in school, attending regularly until almost the age of thirteen, when he was forced to drop out and learn his father’s trade. Deciding that he disliked being a corset-maker, he tried a number of other trades, including teacher, grocer, and excise tax collector2. While he worked his best at these occupations, Paine really had no desire to make these occupations his for the rest of his life, and therefore fared badly in all of them. Paine came to the colonies in 1774, settling in Philadelphia after meeting with Benjamin Franklin in London. Franklin wrote what was known at the time as “letters of introduction” for Paine, and Paine left for the colonies to begin a new life3. Less than two years later, Paine found himself embroiled in the American Revolution. Many Americans believed, at first, that the fight with the British was not about independence or gaining any sort of freedom, but rather to plead with the King for a redress of grievances4. In 1775, when the revolution had progressed as far as the Battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill, four of the Founding Fathers, including John Adams, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington, met to review dispatches, during which time Paine entered the room5. After being introduced by Franklin, Paine states frankly, “These States of America must be independent of England. That is the only solution to this question!”6 Though most of the men felt that this was, in essence, a shocking statement, they all realized that Paine was right, and that independence must be achieved if they were to live freely from England7. Paine proceeded, not long after, to write the pamphlet that would energize the American people, entitled Common Sense. In this pamphlet, he addressed the problems of the English monarchy, the advisability of separation from England and gaining American independence, the nature of the American colonists as a society, and also made some modest proposals for a new form of government8. His motive, in writing the pamphlet, was not only to plant the idea of independence in the minds of the colonists but to turn the anger of Americans away from particular parliamentary measures and towards what he considered the root of the problem, which, in his mind, was the English constitution itself9. Common Sense sold more than 100,000 copies in only a few months, and helped to create a rapid growth of support for the idea of independence in the early months of 177610. One of the reasons for its success was that, by coincidence, it was published first on the same day that a speech from the King of England reached the United States, denouncing all Americans in the colonies as traitors and rebels, and stating frankly that it would be the right of England to bind the colonies forever11. Though at first it was read with a wide amount of alarm, as most colonists knew from almost the first words that it was a statement against the grain of normal thought at the time, after taking many pauses and re-reading it over and over again, most of the American public came to realize that Paine was right, and that independence would be the only way to free themselves from English tyranny forever12. Paine had an audience ready to listen to him and hail him as a prophet not because of his words, but ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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