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Washington Crossing the Delaware, c. 1851. Thomas Paine Common Sense. Common Sense Chapter 3. Thoughts on the present State of American Affairs. Paine examines the hostilities between England and the American colonies and argues that best course of action is independence.

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Washington Crossing the Delaware, c. 1851


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  1. Washington Crossing the Delaware, c. 1851 Thomas Paine Common Sense

  2. Common Sense Chapter 3 • Thoughts on the present State of American Affairs. • Paine examines the hostilities between England and the American colonies and argues that best course of action is independence.

  3. Paine proposes a Continental Charter (or Charter of the United Colonies) that would be an American Magna Carta. • Paine writes that a Continental Charter "should come from some intermediate body between the Congress and the people" and outlines a Continental Conference that could draft a Continental Charter.

  4. Each colony would hold elections for five representatives; these five would be accompanied by two members of the colonies assembly, for a total of seven representatives from each colony in the Continental Conference. • The Continental Conference would then meet and draft a Continental Charter that would secure “freedom and property to all men, and… the free exercise of religion.” • The Continental Charter would also outline a new national government, which Paine thought would take the form of a Congress.

  5. Paine suggested that a Congress may be created in the following way: • Each colony should be divided in districts; • Each district would "send a proper number of delegates to Congress"

  6. Paine thought --- • That each state should send at least 30 delegates to Congress, • And that the total number of delegates in Congress should be at least 390. • The Congress would meet annually, and elect a President.

  7. Paine Thoughts on electing a President • Each colony would be put into a lottery; • the President would be elected, by the whole Congress, from the delegation of the colony that was selected in the lottery. • After a colony was selected it would be removed from subsequent lotteries until all of the colonies had been selected, at which point the lottery would start anew. • Electing a President or passing a law would require 3/5 of the Congress.

  8. Common Sense Chapter 4 • Of the present Ability of America, with some miscellaneous Reflections. • Paine was optimistic of America's military potential at the time of the Revolution. • For example, he spends pages describing how colonial shipyards, by using the large amounts of lumber available in the country, could quickly create a navy that could rival the Royal Navy.

  9. Paine's arguments against British rule • It was absurd for an island to rule a continent. • America was not a "British nation"; it was composed of influences and peoples from all of Europe. • Even if Britain were the "mother country" of America, that made her actions all the more horrendous, for no mother would harm her children so brutally.

  10. More ----- • Being a part of Britain would drag America into unnecessary European wars, and keep it from the international commerce at which America excelled. • The distance between the two nations made governing the colonies from England unwieldy. • If some wrong were to be petitioned to Parliament, it would take a year before the colonies received a response. • Remember when the shot was fired on Lexington, the King George did not hear about it until for about a year.

  11. More ---- • The New World was discovered shortly before the Reformation. • The Puritans believed that God wanted to give them a safe haven from the persecution of British rule. • Britain ruled the colonies for its own benefit, and did not consider the best interests of the colonists in governing them.

  12. Paine has been described as a professional radical and a revolutionary propagandist without peer. • Born in England, he was dismissed as an excise officer (Tax collector) while lobbying for higher wages. • Impressed by Paine, Benjamin Franklin sponsored Paine's emigration to America in 1774.

  13. In Philadelphia Paine became a journalist and essayist, contributing articles on all subjects to The Pennsylvania Magazine. • After the publication of Common Sense, Paine continued to inspire and encourage the patriots during the Revolutionary War with a series of pamphlets entitled, “The American Crisis.” • Eventually, Paine went on to write, “The Rights of Man and The Age of Reason.”

  14. Observations and Comments • What do you think of Thomas Paine ? • His writings , his timing, his influence ? • Could his work/writings be timely for today?

  15. Washington Crossing the Delaware

  16. Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze • Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (LOIT suh) was born in Germany. When his father became ill Emanuel spent many hours sitting by his beside sketching. • After his father's death he decided he would continue with art. • He studied in Philadelphia, and in 1859 he moved to New York .

  17. Emanuel Leutze: 1816 - 1868

  18. Emanuel Leutze byThomas Worthington Whittredge c. 1856

  19. A publisher saw some of his work and hired him to paint portraits of some of the leaders of the country, but he couldn't get them to sit for him. • He left dejected and spent some time in seclusion. • Compare his personality to Gilbert Stuart.

  20. His first successful showing was a painting called Indian Contemplating the Setting Sun. • He traveled to Europe and in Dusseldorf, Germany became the pupil of Lessing, a fine painter there.

  21. Also successful was his painting of Columbus Before the Council of Salamanca . It was so well received it was purchased by the Art Union of Dusseldorf. • He went to Munich and painted another great scene about the explorer, Columbus Before the Queen. We see him before Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand trying to get funding for his anticipated voyage. • Queen Isabella rejected Columbus’ plan several times over a period of about two years, but finally agreed to help him.

  22. Leutze painted two versions of Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way. The 1861 version which we see here is in the Smithsonian Art Museum • The 1862 version is in the United States Capitol. It is a 20x30 foot mural which took him two years to paint. He received $20,000 for it. • With the money he moved his family back to America and settled in Washington D.C. • How do the pictures differ and how are they alike?

  23. He traveled around Europe but returned to Dusseldorf, married and remained there fourteen years. • When he returned to the United States he opened a studio in New York. He had been away for eighteen years.

  24. Leutze became famous for his paintings of American historical scenes. • The featured painting Washington Crossing the Delaware is the one for which he is remembered. • The painting itself is quite large, 12 feet high and 21 feet long.

  25. George Washington

  26. Columbus

  27. Grant at the Capture of Mexico City

  28. Battle of Monmouth, NJ.

  29. As you recall Paul Revere and others made their midnight ride on April 19, 1775 to warn Boston area that the British were coming by sea. • Thomas Paine published Common Sense in January 1776. • The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia, PA. • The Battle of Trenton, New Jersey December, 1776

  30. Emanuel Leutze’s painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware • The commander of the Continental Army against Great Britain stands boldly near the prow of a crowded boat and navigates the treacherous Delaware River on Christmas night, 1776.

  31. Through the sobering months General Washington led an army of dwindling numbers, with defeats mounting and morale sinking. • Soundly beaten in New York, Washington was pursued through New Jersey into Pennsylvania by British General William Howe who fully expected to take Philadelphia, the seat of the Continental Congress.

  32. However, in his retreat across the Delaware River, Washington shrewdly seized all the available boats to ferry his men from New Jersey banks to the Pennsylvania side. • A confident General Howe, certain the war was all but won, had already returned to New York in mid-December, leaving his British and Hessian mercenary troops in the Trenton, NJ area.

  33. The commanders left in charge plotted a river crossing as soon as the Delaware iced over. • Washington acted immediately when his spies uncovered the plan. • With the same boats used to flee the British, he and his men recrossed the river at Trenton, found the enemy, killed several officers, and captured more than 900 prisoners.

  34. The surprise attack not only checked the British advance but helped restore morale to the rebels. • The victory confirmed Washington’s leadership and the brilliance of his military strategy, both vital to reinvigorating the American cause.

  35. After this scene, Washington marched his men quickly to Trenton to attack the surprised Hessian army. • They captured 900 Hessians and ferried them back across the treacherous river to Pennsylvania. • Although no Americans were killed in the battle, two froze to death on the march to battle. This victory greatly boosted the Continental army’s morale.

  36. The painting is a record of a notably historical event which took place on Christmas Day 1776. • The powerful picture features a calm, determined George Washington who commands the troops. • They landed on the New Jersey shore at 4 A.M. on December 26th and then marched nine miles to Trenton. • The British troops were taken by surprise and the Americans won a decisive battle. • The Hessians lost 80 men and 900 were captured. • The Americans lost four men, two in the fighting and two men froze during the crossing. The battle at Princeton, also followed the landing.

  37. Emanuel Leutze [1816-1868] • Leutze grew up sharing the democratic ideals of the American Revolution and frequently represented them in his historical and literary paintings. • The December battle at Trenton, a turning point in the war, appealed to the German-born painter, who had immigrated to the United States as a child decades after the Revolution.

  38. His works are combinations of carefully researched information presented in a meticulously rendered dramatic style. • Leutze’s theatrical interpretations of historical events brought him private and governmental commissions.

  39. Leutze grew up in Philadelphia and likely visited the place where the crossing took place. • He made the painting in Dusseldorf, Germany. It took him two years to paint it. • At one point there was a fire that partially destroyed the first canvas he started. • He used the Rhine River as his model for the Delaware River. • He had visited America many times and had studied paintings of Washington and had looked at his uniform in the museum.

  40. The sheer size of Leutze’s canvas, twelve by twenty-one feet, pulls anyone standing before it into the scene. • The viewer is nearly the same size as the painted figures and the action seems only a few feet away. • Washington stands fast in the lead boat as his men struggle to maneuver the craft through the choppy, ice-filled waters.

  41. Other boats follow, crowded with soldiers and jittery horses. • We can feel Washington’s resolve and courage in facing the battle ahead as he leans forward into the blustering wind. • As his men strain to pull the oars through the water, one deflects the ice while another at the back of the boat uses a paddle like a rudder to steer the course.

  42. Dawn glimmers below the troubled sky, and the American flag, blown and knotted by the winds, rises to a peak behind the General.

  43. Composition • Leutze arranged the figures in a triangular composition. The main triangle extends from the top of the flag to the boat’s bow and back to its stern. • Other triangles are in the figure groupings. One extends from Washington’s head to the bow and back to the extended arms of the red shirted figure.