Comparison of Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry: Revolutionary Tract
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The 1770s proved to be a time of much chaos and debate. The thirteen colonies, which soon gained their independence, were in the midst of a conflict with Great Britain. The colonies were suffering from repeated injuries and usurpations inflicted upon them by the British. As a result of these inflictions, Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry addressed these injustices, and proved to be very persuasive through providing reasoning and evidence that moved many colonists to believe that to reach contentment and peace the colonies had to rid themselves of British rule. Henry and Paine were successful in swaying their audience, not only because of the rhetorical strategies used, but also because they were passionate about the cause they were committed to.
Both Paine and Henry tried to push for support against Great Britain and motivate the colonists to side with the revolutionaries. Both felt obligated to stand up for their unalienable rights and the good of the nation, and this is most evident when Henry declared that he had to speak up, or "[he] should consider [him]self as guilty of treason towards [his] country, and of an act of disloyalty towards the majesty of heaven [...]" (Henry 232). Henry conveniently made a reference to God, which strengthened his argument, because people were decidedly religious. Both agree that compromise with Great Britain was not a solution, logically noting that it had been ineffective in the past. Unlike Henry, however, Paine uses his own experiences to strengthen his argument, especially when he describes his participation in the army under the command of General George Washington.
Paine's diction and the imagery, portraying the time he spent in the army provided in his pamphlet, The American Crisis, only ...
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...sinterpreted to mean that if someone does not fight they are choosing death.
Through the accompaniment of rhetorical devices and pathos, one can strengthen an argument to the point where others see no other option. When spoken at the right occasions and with enough of supporting evidence, an argument will intrigue the audience and make people find the argument logical and appealing. Patrick Henry made his speech less than a month before the Revolutionary War came to pass. Thomas Paine commenced a series of articles when the call for men to fight was urgent. When someone makes an argument, even the smallest detail counts.
Henry, Patrick. "Speech in the Virginia Convention." St. John's Church, Richmond, VA. 23 Mar. 1775. Speech.
Paine, Thomas. "The American Crisis." Thomas Paine - The American Crisis. The Thomas Paine Library, n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.