American Independence: Crèvecoeur,Paine, Jefferson. American Literature Cecilia H.C. Liu 10/25/2004. The Road to Independence. America and the Enlightenment The French and Indian War 1756-1763 Colonial Discontent 1768-1774. America and the Enlightenment. American Thinkers
Cecilia H.C. Liu
"What then is the American, this new man?" asks Crèvecoeur 's speaker, James, a thriving Pennsylvania farmer of the pre-Revolutionary period, whose ancestors had escaped the oppression of European aristocracy and built the farm James works entirely on his own behalf. He pictures the American as one who, freed from "servile dependence, penury and useless labor," undergoes a total transformation. Beginning with the prospect of working for himself and owning land, the American sloughs off his European "prejudices and manners" and begins to think for himself, to act "upon new principles," and "entertain new ideas." In Europe, he says, men "were so many useless plants"; here, the "men are become men."“What then is the American, this new man?”
1. Aside from these rather more abstract, metaphorical reasons for Independence, covered above in #1, what are the concrete, practical reasons Paine advances on behalf of the cause, in both Common Sense and The Crisis?
2. In The Crisis, Paine claims: “There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one.” Certainly one of his goals was to ask his reader to let “his reason and his feelings to determine for themselves,” thus to synthesize intellect and passion. Now, looking back through his writings, ask: When does
Paine “overdo” the language somewhat, giving powerful expression of his feelings? That is, when and how does his style become most impassioned?
Phillis Wheatley's poem, "On Being Brought from Africa to America" makes effective use of irony to drive home a point about the potential for "redemption." Detail how that irony works, noting for instance the potential for ambiguous meaning in the word "refined," in line 8.
operations of Divine providence all the blessings of her life in captivity, bondage, and then limited freedom.