Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Paine's Struggle for Recognition

Enlightenment fueled the American Revolution. The ideas that were presented during Enlightenment were appealing to the people.They wanted to have it for themselves. The people of American wanted to gain independence and break free from Great Britain's rule. Thomas Paine was a writer at the time that helped to spread the principles of the American Revolution to Europe. Paine was born in Thetford, England however after many failed jobs he decided to move to Philadelphia because of a letter from Benjamin Franklin. When he first arrived he became an editor of the Pennsylvanian Magazine. In Thomas Paine's Biography Part 1 he expresses many opinions that support those of Enlightenment. He supports the idea of the consent of the governed through this quote "At first, he believed the colonies should avoid armed rebellion, but once actual fighting had begun, he became convinced that only complete independence would work." In this he is saying that he really didn't want there to be fighting but since he couldn't stop it he thought it would be best if everybody had independence and were free from the British rule. Also later on in the biography we can see the idea of the consent of the governed come up again because Paine says "America could establish a central democratic republican form of government that could serve as a model and beacon to the rest of the world." He believes that America should have power over themselves allowing them to become a model for the rest of the world to support Enlightenment. Paine also brings up the idea of having a social contract to establish a set of rules that the people have to follow. "Paine advocated a declaration of independence to secure European aid and to unite the colonies." Paine agreed with the idea of having some rule and not just a State Of Nature however he also wants a limit on how much power the government could have compared to the people. Paine helped spread the ideas of an Enlightened rule and encouraged the American Revolution so they could achieve it.

When Paine first began expressing his ideas some American colonists were ready to support him and join the rebellion. However there were other colonists that were still loyal to the British and didn't want to go against them. People were scared to abandon what they had learned and been taught to do. They hadn't really been thinking about independence and Paine was presenting them with a new idea. Also many people didn't agree with Paine's ideas.They were skeptical of him and didn't know if they could trust what he was telling them. People like John Adams convinced themselves that Paine was not in favor of the same war as himself. He thought that Paine hated government and rule over all and not just the British rule. This means that Paine was an outcast and hated by everybody even for his successful efforts. They were willing to join the rebellion but Thomas Paine was never really seen as a heroic person because no one was willing to admit they were in favor of him.

In class we were given an excerpt form Thomas Paine's writing called Common Sense. I was assigned excerpt number nine and I worked alone. The goal was to find the main idea of the article and connect it to Enlightenment. We did this by forming poems from the excerpt. It is called black out poetry and the idea is to only keep the words that make up your poem and then black out the rest of the article. I first analyzed the text to understand what Paine was trying to portray and then I was able to form a poem from the words he used to get the idea of Enlightenment in America across. The purpose of the black out poetry was so that we could understand and analyze Paine's ideas. Black out poetry helped us because we weren't just taking notes on the excerpts but we were using creativity and knowledge to help other people understand Paine's point of view.
Original Excerpt
Blacked out Poem

Circled Poem

Thursday, March 12, 2015

War or Safety

A Social Contract is a agreement that citizens make in order to have their life and rights protected, but they have to be willing to give up their freedom. Thomas Hobbes believed that social contracts were necessary because he though that without them there would be a constant State of War. Hobbes was against a State of Nature because he believed that no one would be able to get along and would always be fighting. This is shown through is writings when he says the state of war is "solitary, poor, nasty,brutish and short" John Locke also believed that social contracts were necessary but for different reasons. Locke believed that they should have a social contract so that people's life, liberty and property were protected. Hobbes and Locke also have a different view on government. Hobbes thinks that government exists to protect people's lives and that it is absolute so that the government have unlimited power. However, Locke thinks that government exists to protect people's rights and that it should have a limited amount of power so that people don't rebel. Hobbes and Locke have unique outlooks on human nature that lead them to their views. 

In class we created a social contract with five rules that people had to follow. The easiest part about making the social contract was coming up with five different categories that had to be covered. However, the hard part was getting the rules to be specific enough so that people understand how to follow them and that they cover all the different situations that could happen. In contracts it is hard because there could be many different and unique circumstances that have to be covered so that the people know what they have to do when it happens. Also you have to be concerned with whether the rules are to specific that the people won't be willing to sign them and that no one will be able to find loopholes in the contract so that they can do whatever they want. It is hard to make the rules make sense while trying to please every bodies opinions. 

We had feedback by eleven of our classmates and we were able to make our rules better based on their ideas. We adjusted rule number one so that it now states "People must elect and follow the laws of a council that is made up of two boys and two girls every year. However, if the council can not perform its job new people can be added and council members can be voted out." We changed this rule because Chris suggested that there be an odd number of council member, but if there was an odd number then there would probably be an argument whether there should be more girls or more boys. Also we used Gina's question and changed it so that you can kick people off the council if you do not like them. Rule number two was also changed so now it is "Arguments that affect the well being of others should be brought outside. Any arguments between the community are always decided by the council and they should have the final say in it." We used Olivia's question of what would happen with arguments between the community and added that situation into the rules. Rule number three was just changed a little based on Kristine's advise, so that it is "Everybody needs to have a job that the community benefits from and the resources, such as food, water, clothing and tools are shared evenly." We did not change number four based on Liam's question because it is just a rule based on kindness and if you don't agree then you shouldn't be let into the community. Our rule number five was changed so that it is now "People that become sick are allowed to skip work, however if they are sick for more than a year they will be kicked out of the community." We changed five completely because when singing the contract you know that you will be kicked out of the community if you don'y follow it. Our rules now would probably satisfy most of our class and we would be able to make a community.