Thomas Paine once said, “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered. ” (134) An aphorism that he used in “The Crisis No. 1” to reinforce the established truth that freedom isn’t always free. Patrick Henry’s speech in the “Second Virginia convention,” Thomas Paine’s “The Crisis No. 1,” and Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence that include elements and rhetorical devices such as rhetorical questions, aphorisms, analogy, and logical structure reflect classicism, a philosophy which emphasized reason, logical structure, clarity, and self control.
The first examples of Classicism can be found embedded throughout Patrick Henry’s speech in the “Second Virginia Convention. ” He utilizes persuasive techniques like rhetorical questions with obvious answers to further emphasize that the actions of the British were vile, corrupt, and unjust. A good example of this is shown when Henry asks, “Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? ”(117) The obvious answer to Henry’s question is no, those are elements of war and though their enemy may promise reconciliation this would only be another lie added to the king’s list.
Resolution is not the intent of someone who is power struck. Henry also asks, “Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? ” (118) “When will we be stronger, will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? ”(118) By using rhetorical questions Henry is making every county man think about what is to become of them, either to fight for freedom or be forever under the British stronghold. Furthermore, Thomas Paine also takes part in the road to independence by writing down his thoughts in “The Crisis No. . ” And by using elements such as aphorisms and analogies Paine seems to connect with his readers on an emotional level more than anything. In Paine’s “The Crisis No. 1,” he used an aphorism, “The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy”(136) to signify the utter importance and truth that standing together in times of pandemonium is absolutely necessary to be triumphant.
In addition he makes a comparison to a common man and the king with the metaphor, “But if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me or those that are in it, and to bind me in all cases whatsoever, am I to suffer? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king or a common man… why should we punish in one case and pardon in the other? ”(136) This metaphor, also an emotional appeal, connects with the reader because of its relationship to family bond and security.
Lastly, Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence uses structure and logical order to establish their independence. At the beginning of the document Jefferson states the basic principles of government including the unalienable rights of all men created on this earth. He first states, “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…. to secure these rights governments are instituted among men…. But that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. Next he reveals the long list of the kings violations twenty seven total. “He has refused his assent to laws…He has forbidden his governors to pass laws…He has kept among us in times of peace standing armies without the consent of legislatures… ”
Next he writes of the efforts made by the colonists to peacefully address these issues. “In every stage of oppression we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. And finally, in the last section, they declare their independence because of the king’s violations and inattentiveness to their issues. “We, therefore, the representative of the United States of America…solemnly publish and declare that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states. ”
Therefore through structure and logical reason Thomas Jefferson and the people of the colonies claimed their independence. In conclusion, Patrick Henry’s speech in the “Second Virginia convention,” Thomas Paine’s “The Crisis No. ,” and Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence all include literary elements and rhetorical devices such as rhetorical questions, aphorisms, analogy, and logical structure that reflect Classicism. The colonists’ independence is owed to the philosophy of Classicism, and the writers of the eighteenth century. As Thomas Paine said, “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. ” And glorious it is, freedom at its finest, the United States of America.
Cite this Revolutionary Period
Revolutionary Period. (2016, Oct 01). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/revolutionary-period/