Thomas Paine (1737-1809), writer and revolutionary, wrote the popular pamphlet, Common Sense, a call for American independence and democracy. Driven by a desire for freedom and justice, Paine’s thinking reflected French and English writers from age of reasoning. Paine published Common Sense in January 1776, six months before the Continental Congress declared independence from Britain. Of 2.5 million individuals living in the 13 colonies, nearly 500,000 obtained text of the pamphlet, suggesting the mood of the times. The essay reportedly persuaded even George Washington that the best answer to the crisis with England was to withdraw support to the crown. Jefferson apparently was motivated by Common Sense when writing the Declaration of Independence. (more…)
Ray Raphael’s book, A People’s History of the American Revolution, is part of a series edited by Howard Zinn, that has as its main thesis the idea that common people, not the powerful politicians and warriors, were the ones who rallied, fought and eventually won America’s independence from the Crown. Within the context of the theme, Raphael suggests that the common patriotic heroes of the day were not necessarily patriotic in the sense that people often think. (more…)
Benjamin Franklin considered being Founding Fathers of the America. He is mostly thought of as the revolutionary person who led protests against the Stamp Act, aided draft the Declaration of Independence, coordinated the peace treaty ending the American Revolution, and co-wrote and signed the American constitution. In his book, Autobiography he is however unable to discuss the Revolution satisfactorily and hardly even refers to events during the second half of 17th century. Infect, in the Autobiography, we find Franklin as the Renaissance scholar, enthralled by every types of learning and striving hard to facilitate others and to make lives of others , easier and better, strongly believing that the way to please almighty was by doing good to other humanity. This concern manifested itself in public service and scientific progress.
Franklin, in his autobiography, explains how he journeys to Philadelphia in search of a job and to start life on his own. Franklin wants independence and he knows he will find what he seeks. Franklin states, “I took it upon me to assert my Freedom”
America was the beginning, the first step in the reaction. American agents were the catalysts of the next revolution in the chain: that of France. French Revolution resulted in the intermediate steps toward the endpoint: European consolidation. The intermediate step was the French Enlightenment, whose intellectual descendants triumphed in the nineteenth century. Though many factors made the American Revolution the precursor of the French Revolution–e.g., subsidizing the American Revolution contributed significantly to France’s economic woes–a key American ideological organizer was Benjamin Franklin. He catalyzed many changes and united many friends, who interacted after Franklin’s departure to produce France’s pre-Revolutionary phase. Franklin showed them how to act through the existing matrix of their social clubs, places of companionship and philosophical discussion.
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