There is no time like the present to champion the continued relevance and power of Thomas Paines' works; in particular Common Sense, Crisis and Rights of Man. His works combined with the current political climate in the United States serve as a clarion call for a return to common sense, critical thought and logic. Americas' 241-year old history of achievement and good will is being squandered by Trump - the intellectual guttersnipe. A guy who eagerly showcases his stellar qualities: lying, self-interest over patriotism and treasonous corruption.
The general concepts of Common Sense flowed from the crow quill nib of Thomas Paine in 1776. Not until the publication of Paines’, Common Sense in January, 1776 did the political leadership of the day seriously begin entertaining the notion of independence. Washington, Franklin and Jefferson, who were initially satisfied pursuing an airing of grievances with Britain, changed their mind to full separation and independence after reading Common Sense. A view shared by a majority of the 2.7-Million Colonists. And think about this: Common Sense sold 300,000 pamphlets in the first 3-months! And these figures are in the 1770s!
The success of Common Sense eventually gave way to the Revolutionary War of 1776 and, again, the pen of Thomas Paine.
General George Washington and his Continental Army were camped at Valley Forge for six long months from late 1777 to June, 1778. Even though no battle was fought here, Washingtons’ forces faced the harsh winter elements and low morale. Upon hearing this Paine wrote an article which so impressed General Washington that he ordered it read to the troops at Valley Forge. Over the next 6-years, Paine would write another dozen articles titled, The American Crisis.
241-years later the United States of America is in peril again, but this time, from Washington itself! And not surprisingly, the works of Thomas Paine have never been more inspiring and vital. An oft repeated post-election phrase is the danger of ‘normalizing this presidency’. That is something Tatlow & Rawlings will never do.
Here's something else we can do to keep the fires stoked..
Publish a 2107 'people's version of the "CRISIS" ESSAY.
Literacy between 18th century Colonists and 21st century Americans: An enormously intriguing topic which we want to cover at a later date.
The challenge is being able to source reliable data, which is inherently problematic, on the subject of 18th century literacy. One fable or tale that can be immediately put to bed: The average Colonist was largely literate not illiterate. We follow that statement with a qualification because of the complexity of the issue. There is a distinction between those who could fully read and write, and those who could do one or the other - read and not be able to write, or write and not be able to read. The following two paragraphs are from an article titled Every Man Able to Read. Author, Jack Lynch sheds some light on literacy throughout the 13 colonies in the 18th century.
"As University of Colorado historian Gloria L. Main says, “Measuring ‘literacy’ is problematical . . . because the term encompasses not one skill but two, each with a separate range of competency”—that is, the ability to read and the ability to write. In the eighteenth century, the two were taught as separate skills. Many people learned the rudiments of reading but never to write—in those cases, a mark in place of a name may give us a false negative about someone’s ability to read. It’s also possible that some people who could not read, or could not read well, learned the alphabet well enough to write their names. In those cases, signing a name gives a false positive.
Despite the caveats, we can generalize about patterns of literacy. In 1974, University of Montana scholar Kenneth Lockridge’s groundbreaking book, Literacy in Colonial New England, surveyed evidence from legal records and offered provisional conclusions—“The exercise is bound to be tentative, as it uses a biased sample and an ambiguous measure”—but he made the case that, among white New England men, about 60 percent of the population was literate between 1650 and 1670, a figure that rose to 85 percent between 1758 and 1762, and to 90 percent between 1787 and 1795. In cities such as Boston, the rate had come close to 100 percent by century’s end."
Almost frightened to learn some of the data for 21st century Americans, huh? :\ To whatever extent 21st century literacy rates are better or worse, one must also add in a diminished capacity for common sense, critical thinking and logic. Naturally, numerous reasons exist for that. If you have some insight and would like to contribute an article, please send the data and your contact information.
* In honor of the eternally influential late, great Christopher Hitchens. Always here. REVEREND!
People will say, "How screwed up was this country that this lying, conman got elected?
WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!"
*Apologies to Tiny Tim.