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"The Crisis" by Thomas Paine: December 23, 1776

Worth remembering on this 234th anniversary. Within a day of its publication in Philadelphia, General Washington ordered it be read to his troops before they crossed the Delaware River on December 25th at 6pm in darkness. While Paine's writing could not feed or shelter the troops, it did serve to improve morale and help them feel a little more tolerant of their current conditions.

The Crisis by Thomas Paine
December 23, 1776
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 their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. 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. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

Whether the independence of the continent was declared too soon, or delayed too long, I will not now enter into as an argument; my own simple opinion is, that had it been eight months earlier, it would have been much better. We did not make a proper use of last winter, neither could we, while we were in a dependent state. However, the fault, if it were one, was all our own [NOTE]; we have none to blame but ourselves. But no great deal is lost yet. All that Howe has been doing for this month past, is rather a ravage than a conquest, which the spirit of the Jerseys, a year ago, would have quickly repulsed, and which time and a little resolution will soon recover.

Continued at:

http://www.ushistory.org/paine/crisis/c-01.htm




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SteveMT's picture

For those seeking an historical perspective from where we came.

How far we have come. To where are we going is the question?

Peace and happiness to all.

Read it all.

Paine puts a point on a choice, even now.

SteveMT's picture

You are right trevores..every word even now has meaning.

"Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but "show your faith by your works," that God may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear as a ray of light. Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to "bind me in all cases whatsoever" to his absolute will, am I to suffer it?"

nice

"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink ..."

And never forget, “Humans, despite our artistic pretensions, our sophistication and many accomplishments, owe the fact of our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”

Thank you

we can learn a lot from this...

LL on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LibertyPoet
sometimes LL can suck & sometimes LL rocks!
http://www.dailypaul.com/203008/south-carolina-battle-of-cow...
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

Steve

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

Shivers!

For Freedom!
The World is my country, all mankind is my brethren, to do good is my religion.

Yikes

That was a really thoughtful post. Well done SteveMT.

donvino

SteveMT's picture

This post is called 'roots," donvino..getting back to the ....

roots of the Republic. Christmas is a festive time of the year, but it was not for Washington and these soldiers.

As we soon will cross into the new year, we seem like we will be crossing the Delaware with what we face.

I hope that Paine's words will also sooth our souls in the same way that they did Washington's army before their victory against tyranny.

No it was not...Christmas was turned on its ears..

By the slithering Temple Servants.......and wise men did well to pay homage in their own way by going into the wilderness & preparing.

"Look on this picture and

"Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented."

&*$% yeah.

Steve, thank you so much for posting this.

These are NOT just 'sentimental words'. We are living this right now.

Each will have to make their choice just like those early colonists did - perhaps this time around there will be no bloodshed.

SteveMT's picture

Thanks Anisha. We are not just living this right now,.....

these words still live.

They live for a

reason.

These are not empty words. They have tremendous meaning but Americans have to be able to recognize what this means to them individually.

We 'are' the saviors. We're it! Its a choice.

bump for history.

bump for history.

SteveMT's picture

History repeats.

There are still such men among us. Men who can change the course of history with strokes from a pen or with a speech from afar.