The American Crisis, or simply The Crisis, was a pamphlet series by Thomas Paine between December 19, 1776 and April 19, 1783 to “recharge the revolutionary cause” during the American Revolution.  Sixteen numbered pamphlets were published between 1776 and 1783 in various newspapers. Paine believed ordinary Americans were more apt to continue under the protection of the British Empire and Monarchy unless compelling reasons were given to change.  He attempted to explain his liberal philosophy of government in a language that the common person could understand, using references to God and claiming that the war against Great Britain was a war with the support of God. Paine’s writings bolstered the morale of the American colonists, appealed to the British people’s consideration of the war, clarified the issues at stake in the war, and denounced the advocates of a negotiated peace.  Paine signed the pamphlets with the pseudonym, “Common Sense“.

The first volume famously begins: “These are the times that try men’s souls.”  In the winter 1776 the rebel American cause were on the verge of death and the revolution was still viewed as an unsteady prospect. Paine wanted to enable the distraught patriots to stand, to persevere, and to fight for an American victory. Paine published the first article of The Crisis on December 19th.  Its opening sentence was adopted as the watchword of the movement to Trenton. “These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

Washington’s troops were ready to quit.  George Washington ordered his men assembled and that The Crisis to be read aloud to the assembled soldiers on December 23, 1776.  Two days later, the American army achieved an unexpected victory over the 1400 Hessians at Trenton.  “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”  Instead of disbanding and dissipating, the fledgling Continental Army regrouped and rallied.

Published by Michael Carver

My goal is to bring history alive through interactive portrayal of ordinary American life in the late 18th Century (1750—1799) My persona are: Journeyman Brewer; Cordwainer (leather tradesman but not cobbler), Statesman and Orator; Chandler (candle and soap maker); Gentleman Scientist; and, Soldier in either the British Regular Army, the Centennial Army, or one of the various Militia. Let me help you experience history 1st hand!

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