America was literally founded on her perseverance in standing up to liars, bullies and tyrants. Many times it looked like the Revolutionary War would be futile, and in his deepest moments of despair, George Washington wrote to his brother that he believed that all was lost. But a great wordsmith inspired a resurrection of America's courage and dedication to freedom, which resulted in victory. Those electrifying words are applicable today.
The following excerpts are from Thomas Paine's history-changing document, "The American Crisis: December 23, 1776," often credited to be the turning point of the first American Revolution.
These excerpts have been edited for gender appropriateness, and references to the King or General Howe are replaced with "Tyrant," these edits are in italics. Care has been taken to insure that the essence is true to the flavor of Paine's original meaning. (The original document can be read here.)
These words are as inspiring today as they were nearly 250 years ago, and, perhaps, in as dire a circumstance.
THESE are the times that try women's souls.
The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but she that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.- Advertisement -
Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.
Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.
'Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them ...(for example) the whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back ... and this brave exploit was performed by a few broken forces collected and headed by ... Joan of Arc.
The peculiar advantage (of panics) is that they ...bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered.
In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors ...They sift out the hidden thoughts ... and hold them up in public to the world.
I am ... confident... that America will never be happy till she gets clear of ...dominion...though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire.
Say not that this is revenge, call it rather the soft resentment of a suffering people, who, (have) no object in view but the good of all...- Advertisement -
I love the person that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress...
Let (tyrants) call me rebel -- I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man.