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The Crisis No 1 Essay

In his The Crisis No. 1, Thomas Paine attempts to unify the nation to fight against Britain’s injustice. He demands help from everyone because he believes that what they are fighting for is right and this may be their last chance to receive their freedom. He explains that this upcoming battle will be a test to see those who are truly loyal to their country. He tries to influence everyone to fight for their country in order to win their liberties. To achieve his purpose in this pamphlet Paine utilizes appeals tho Logos, references from the Bible and rhetorical questions.

In order to persuade his audience that fighting back is the best course of action, Paine uses appeals to Logos. Paine says that, “… but it will not do to sacrifice a world either to their folly or their baseness. The period is now arrived, in which either they [Tories] or we must change our sentiments, or one or both must fall. ” In this quote, Paine is saying that if neither the revolutionaries nor the Tories want to compromise, they must engage each other in battle. Both of these sides cannot coexist in America; the people must be either loyal to Britain or independent as a new nation.

To add to his point he also says, “It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war… ” The colonists cannot expect Britain to act kindly in dealing with the revolutionaries, especially since Britain initiated the conflict by refusing to represent America in Parliament. They are trying to stifle the rebellion, not negotiate. Paine wants them all to fight and fight hard.

References from the Bible add to Paine’s efforts to influence his audience. He mentions, “… that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but ‘show your faith by your works,’ that God may bless you. ” In the Bible’s book of James, chapter 2 verses fourteen to seventeen, God says that faith without work is dead. The colonists cannot expect to anything by just hoping for better circumstances. They have to take action and fight to make a change and rid themselves of the tyranny of England.

Lastly, Paine’s use of rhetorical questions also contribute to his influence of the audience. “Why is it that the enemy have left the New England provinces, and made these middle ones the seat of war? ” is what Paine asks of his audience. This is used to make the audience really think about the matter at hand. Also he says this to enrage the common colonist; Britain is enlisting Americans in their army and attacking in America’s most vulnerable region. The middle colonies are “infested with Tories,” whom General Howe expects to recruit for the British Army.

The colonists are more likely to fight now with this new information. Given the above points Paine was able to fulfill his purpose in The Crisis No. 1 with his appeals to Logos, Bible references and rhetorical questions. His appeals to Logos convinced his audience that Britain will not act kindly towards them because of their positions. Due to their positions, the colonists must fight. They must fight long and hard against Britain’s dictatorship so that they may finally become free. Liberty is what the colonists want, they must fight for it.


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