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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thormas Paine : American Crises

American Literature has its beginning in the 18th century. The American literatures were pamphlets and writings extolling the benefits of the colonies to both a European and colonist audience. The religious disputes that prompted settlement in America, the revolutionary period containing political writings were also the topics of writing. The strength of America lies in its culture.

Literature and not philosophy became the topic of discussion for the elite class. “Colonization is about capturing minds and not capturing terrorist”, was the idea. During the emergence of World War I, England stopped imparting education to the Germans as they were their enemies; in reply to this, Dental science started emerging in the Germen camps.

In 1492, Columbus reached America, and by 1600’s Native Americans, Red Indians started to settle there. It is said that Aryans ‘came’ from central Asia, Mughals ‘invaded’ and Britishers ‘colonized’ America. Evidence of this can found in the linguists of America as it is similar to Sanskrit, Greek and Latin. The Mughals came from Mangolia with their army and settled down there. Genetically, Native Americans are Magnolian.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

Thomas Paine was a renowned pro American writer, who used ‘plain’ language in an attempt to engage even those people who never read. His works promoted the struggle for American independence and for the rejection of government based on hereditary monarchy. He rejected hierarchies in church and state.

During that period local aristocracies were being challenged by the rising artisan class. He used his rhetorical powers to argue for American independence. On January 9, 1776, he published Common Sense which argued for American independence from Great Britain and for a republican form of government as superior to heredity monarchy. Common Sense helped in spreading a national spirit and led to the creation of the Declaration of Independence.

His writings showcased how emerging state uses the vocabulary of religion to sanctify their cause. Religion is used to defend states, although religion and state are completely different entities. Religion becomes a tool to justify their cause for a national state. Religion in turn relates to Puritanism which is based largely on Old Testament and it also has its roots in the Jewish history.

From The American Crisis

In the introductory paragraph itself, Paine represents the current state of affairs in America. America was undergoing both domestic and outer (external) crises. He aims to attain a free nation, free from the tyranny of British. He wishes to break free from the bindings, he believed that binding is slavery.

He also points out the faults, the mistakes made in the past and he counters how to redress it. Lack of preparation becomes one of the main reasons for their folly, for the downfall of America. Paine also justifies their goal of FREE AMERICA, as he feels that it is a just claim which has been sanctioned by God himself. “God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupported to perish”. Nation state action is sanctioned by religion. Political struggle kept alive though divine invocation.

He also talks about the panic which has gripped America. He gives examples of the previous situations in France and England, where panic became a downfall and a cause of misery. He believed that now it was the right time to attack; he wanted all the people to fire up their spirits and fight together, unite and gain independence. He gives a detailed account about the experiences of the troops at Fort Lee. He talks about the fragile and temporary army and the mistakes committed by both armies.

The essay has a Biblical tone to it. Paine’s language is similar to that of Bible (Old Testament); especially the text relating to Jewish struggle; there is also the use of imagination from the Jewish: the journey towards the Promised Land (Israel). The notion of “All nations”, is taken from the Bible.
There is also the imagery of Joan of Arc, wherein there is divine intervention where someone will be blessed to lead America towards her independence. Also there are references to enlightened visions and contested boundaries.

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