Understanding a question from an essay written during the Revolutionary War?I had to read a excerpt from an essay written during the Revolutionary War to inform the American public of what was...

Understanding a question from an essay written during the Revolutionary War?

I had to read a excerpt from an essay written during the Revolutionary War to inform the American public of what was happening on the battlefields and to encourage them to continue the war for independence.

I have to give one example from the excerpt that shows the speaker acknowledged the influence of Puritan beliefs on his audience. And then Another example that shows the speaker was influenced by the Age of Reason (the Enlightenment). And my reason for picking it.

 

Could someone explain to me what they are asking me to write? For some reason I'm not understanding the question being asked. I've read the notes/book and nothing is helping me.

Thank you :)

-Dani

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is one where you really ought to ask your teacher because he/she is the one who has actually made up the question and knows exactly what is wanted.

It sounds to me like you are being asked to look at the essay and find evidence of two rather different influences on American thought -- Puritanism and the Enlightenment.

I think your teacher is asking you first to look for evidence that shows Puritan ideas have affected this essay.  You might want to look for things like an emphasis on following what God wants.  The Puritans believed (among other things) that nations should act in ways that God wanted.  Does the writer ever say anything like that -- like that God wants Americans to be free?

Second, you are supposed to look for evidence of the Enlightenment.  I think the most likely thing to look for here is stuff about monarchy being bad.  A major Enlightenment idea was that people were all pretty much equal and so there was no reason for one person to rule others just because of who his ancestors were.  Is there anything like that in the essay?

mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is difficult to answer this question without seeing the actual excerpt. It appears you have been asked to read a passage that your teacher assigned to you that was written during the Revolutionary War. You are trying to inform people about what was happening with the fighting in the war and also encouraging people to support the war effort.

One of your examples needs to show how Puritan values influenced the writer. You might want to look for ideas about the role of God in people’s lives, which was an important Puritan focus. You also need to show how the writer was influenced by ideas of the Enlightenment. You might want to consider how people were beginning to question traditional forms of authority, which is a key idea of the Enlightenment. You then need to support why you used these ideas as evidence for your answer.

After looking at the ideas I have suggested, you might want to confirm with your teacher to see if this is what your teacher wants you to do.

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