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

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