Revolutionary Period

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Thomas Paine’s quote, “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered,” (134) from his work “The Crisis No. 1,” captures the enduring truth that freedom is hard won. This sentiment is echoed in Patrick Henry’s speech at the Second Virginia Convention, Thomas Paine’s “The Crisis No. 1,” and Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. These texts exhibit classicism, a philosophy that emphasizes reason, logical structure, clarity, and self control, through their use of rhetorical questions, aphorisms, analogies, and logical structure.

The text highlights the presence of Classicism in Patrick Henry’s speech. In the “Second Virginia Convention,” he employs rhetorical questions with obvious answers to accentuate the British’s wicked, corrupt, and unjust actions. A clear instance of this occurs when Henry inquires, “Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation?” (117). The response to Henry’s query is evidently no, as fleets and armies are indicators of war, and any promise of reconciliation from their enemy would simply be another falsehood added to the king’s collection.

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The text explores the idea that resolution is not the objective of those intoxicated with power, as indicated by Henry’s question about whether strength can be gained through indecision and inaction. He asks whether waiting will make the county stronger, or if it will only lead to total disarmament and having British guards in every house. These rhetorical questions force individuals to consider whether they should fight for freedom or remain under British control. Another individual involved in the struggle for independence is Thomas Paine, who expresses his thoughts in “The Crisis No. 1.” Paine uses tools like aphorisms and analogies to emotionally connect with his readers. For instance, he employs the 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 emphasize the absolute necessity of standing united during chaotic times in order to achieve victory.

The author uses a metaphor to compare a common man and the king. They argue that if someone breaks into their house, causing harm and endangering them and their loved ones, it shouldn’t matter if the perpetrator is a king or an ordinary person. The author questions why punishment should be given in one situation and forgiveness in another. This metaphor serves as an emotional appeal, connecting with the reader’s sense of family and security.

Thomas Jefferson effectively uses structure and logical order in The Declaration of Independence to establish the independence of the United States. He initially presents the fundamental principles of government, emphasizing the unalienable rights granted to all individuals: “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Jefferson highlights that governments are created to protect these rights for their citizens but acknowledges that if a government undermines these objectives, it is within the people’s right to modify or abolish it.

Furthermore, Jefferson meticulously lists twenty seven transgressions committed by King George III in his declaration. These violations range from refusing to approve laws and obstructing governors from enacting legislation to maintaining standing armies without permission from legislatures during peacetime.

The author discusses the peaceful actions taken by the colonists to address the issues they faced. They state that despite their humble petitions for redress, they were met with repeated injury. Finally, in the final section, they declare their independence due to the king’s violations and lack of attention to their concerns. As a result, the representatives of the United States of America solemnly announce and assert that the United Colonies are rightfully independent states.

Therefore, the claim for independence by Thomas Jefferson and the people of the colonies was based on structure and logical reason. In conclusion, the speeches of Patrick Henry in the “Second Virginia convention,” Thomas Paine’s “The Crisis No.,” and Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence all contain literary elements and rhetorical devices such as rhetorical questions, aphorisms, analogies, and logical structure that epitomize Classicism. The attainment of independence by the colonists can be attributed to the philosophy of Classicism and the writers of the eighteenth century. As Thomas Paine eloquently stated, “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” And indeed, it is a glorious triumph – freedom at its finest – the United States of America.

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