In the Crisis, No 1 by Thomas Paine, who was his intended audience?


Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "Crisis Number 1," Thomas Paine tries to convince the average, undecided colonist to support the Patriots in their fight against the British. Many colonists believed an attempt at gaining independence from Great Britain was futile. These people believed the chances that the thirteen colonies could mount a successful fight against one of the world’s most powerful countries seemed remote at best. Also, some of these people were comfortable living under the rule of the British.

These were the people that Thomas Paine was trying to reach. He wanted to convince them that British government represented a system of tyranny and that the colonists didn’t have to accept life under such a system. He also appealed to their religious values, making this struggle appear to be a struggle against the British who were trying to gain so much power that they were really taking powers that belonged to G-d.

Thomas Paine was trying to reach the people who were undecided if breaking from the rule of the British was really in their best interests. Thomas Paine made the case that it was in their best interest to break from the rule of the British and support the cause of the Patriots.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Thomas Paine wrote The American Crisis--a 16-pamphlet series published primarily during the early years of the American Revolution--to bolster support for the American colonists' efforts to gain independence from Great Britain. His intended audience was primarily American patriots.

When "Crisis no. 1" was published in December 1776, patriot morale was low, and there was much uncertainty about whether the Americans had the strength and fortitude to defeat the mighty army of Great Britain. Paine sought to increase their morale; thus he used simple language which commoners could understand. "Crisis no. 1" was read to the Continental Army prior to the Battle of Trenton and helped to rally the troops.

While disheartened patriots were his primary audience, Paine also hoped this pamphlet would convince people still loyal to Britain to turn and fight for the Americans.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial