What "program for action" did Paine put forward in "The Crisis," p. 142?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In your message to me, you said that this question refers to the article written in December of 1776.  In this article, the main "program for action" (these words aren't actually used) is for all good Americans to get together and back the war.

Paine is saying that he has (in the past) thought that war was not the right thing.  But now that the British have made the first moves, a war would not be an offensive war but rather a defensive one.  As Paine says

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?

So now that Britain has taken the first offensive actions, what should be done?  Paine believes that all Americans should come and fight.  He thinks that it is time for people to make sacrifices and come out and fight so that their children can live in a better world.  As he says:

I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. 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.

So Paine is saying that now that Britain has done wrong to the colonies, it is time for everyone in every colony to come out and fight.  This is what I would take as the "program for action" in this article.

dopefeans6's profile picture

dopefeans6 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

"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?"

In this excerpt, Paine is attempting to convince readers that they
must support the war to protect their financial interests.
could potentially benefit from the spoils of the war.
will blame themselves for not supporting the war.
have righteous reasons to justify supporting the war.

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