A Loyalists Point of View of Paine

“Write a critique of Paine’s pamphlets from the point of view of a loyalist in 1778.” – Dr. North

As a Loyalist your message is not one of inspiration but one of anger. Your pamphlets spew rhetoric. It is insulting to the “common sense” of Americans.  Your ideas to sway them of what a government should be is pure hogwash. I believe that you took advantage of your people at a vulnerable time. Your works are based on emotions and not at all factual. You are asking your people to fight in a war that you want. You fill their heads with lies to evoke a rage so powerful bloodshed will surely ensue. You decry Englishmen, calling us liars and tyrants.  I conceive that you are indeed the the liar.

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Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”

“The most illogical argument in Common Sense asked of me by Dr. North.

Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1776. He presented his argument for why he felt a revolution was necessary. Paine said that his arguments were plain and of a common sense nature. Not so much.

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It became America’s first best seller. I do not know how that managed to happen. More rhetoric was being used than logic. For example he stated that a country should have no debt. He then contradicted himself and said that it should have debt…

“The debt we may contract doth not deserve our regard if the work be but accomplished. No nation ought to be without a debt. A national debt is a national bond; and when it bears no interest, is in no case a grievance. Britain is oppressed with a debt of upwards of one hundred and forty millions sterling, for which she pays upwards of four millions interest. And as a compensation for her debt, she has a large navy; America is without a debt, and without a navy; yet for the twentieth part of the English national debt, could have a navy as large again. The navy of England is not worth, at this time, more than three millions and a half sterling.”

The whole thing for me was, to be honest, humdrum and so hard to get through. It could not keep my attention. 

Who is the Most American?

Benjamin Franklin was certainly an influential American. He was a founding father among many things. He was born January 17, 1706. His list of accomplishments are endless, such as author, political theorist, politician, scientist, post master, and what I think when I hear his name is inventor. His lightening rod, bifocals, and the Franklin Stove are his most notable inventions. There is no denying he is a true unequivocal American. My dads favorite Ben Franklin’s quote is:

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

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With that said, there are so many people in our history and even today that are undeniable Americans. Some of the people from history that come to mind are George Washington, Henry Ford, Mark Twain, Harriet Tubman, Thomas Edison, and the list goes on. All for very different reasons which is what makes America what it is today.

Let’s not forget the soldiers that have fought and that are fighting in battle for this country. They do not just define what it is to be an American, but I would even call them heroes.

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.” – Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, USMC

So I guess the answer to the question asked of me is no. I do not think there is any one person more American than Benjamin Franklin. I do however think there are people that are every bit as American as Mr. Franklin.

 

Sermons – Am I the Target?

 

jonathan_edwards1339431523194 Jonathan Edwards was a preacher born in East Windsor, Connecticut. He gave his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” on July 8th 1741. It is an appeal to sinners to recognize that they will be judged. Edwards believed the judgement of God awaiting unrepentant sinners will be terrifying. I think Edwards (like many in that era) has an extremely harsh point of view. His overpowering descriptions of Gods wrath was very strong. His way was to scare people into converting. I do not like that he would make things up in order make his point. I do repent when I feel I may have done something wrong, so to that end I would not assume that I was a target of his sermon.

George Whitefield was also a preacher. He was born in Gloucester, England. His sermon was called, “Marks of a True Conversion“. georgewhitefield Whitefield spoke of being converted. Matthew 18:3 “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” He says to be converted “there must be some great, some notable, and amazing change passed upon our souls.” He makes the comparison that little children are “ignorant creatures” and those who are converted are the same. Whitefield also spoke of our sins and the importance of confessing them. “If ye confess your sins, and leave them, and lay hold on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God shall be given you; if you will go and say, turn me, O my God!” Do I think I could be the target of this sermon? I think yes. I believe we are all sinners and should ask God for forgiveness.


Theopolis Americana – Politics

Cotton Mather was a minister, born in Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was the grandson of John Cotton. His sermon, Theopolis Americana: An Essay on the Golden Street of the Holy City was published in Boston in 1710. A testimony against the corruptions of the market-place. He preached it to the Massachusetts General Assembly on May 9, 1709. Mather also condemns all forms of dishonesty and business corruption including the kidnapping of Africans into slavery.

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Although I think Mather’s sermon echoed the same narrative throughout it’s entirety, he is explicit with his points as illustrated here:

The first thing for which I move is that the golden rule of charity may operate in all the dealings of the market-place. Then will the street be pure gold, when everything is done in it with an eye to the golden rule of Christ. I am not versed in the niceties and mysteries of the market-place. But I am acquainted with a golden rule, which, I am sure, would mightily rectify all our dealings there. . . .”
The second thing for which I move is that all frauds in our dealings of all sorts may be the abomination of all that have anything to do in the market-place. . .”

“The third thing for which I move is that there may not be so much as any tendency to anything oppressive or injurious in the dealings with market-place. . .”

  It is asked of me by Mr. North how this sermon might have influenced me politically. All in all this sermon would not have influenced me in a political sense. He was a bit of an eccentric personality which was overbearing. I do think religion and politics can go hand in hand. Believing in God teaches us how to treat one another, a sentiment which should be understood if you are a politician. Without these teachings corruption will prevail.

William Penn and the Middle Class

William Penn, a Quaker, was founder of the Province of Pennsylvania. He advocated religious freedom and democracy. He was also an entrepreneur and philosopher. He was the author of Some Fruits of Solitude, a collection of aphorisms. His clever little sayings were ones of moral teachings. Penn’s wisdom along with his deeds for leading a good life are lessons for us all.

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Bounds Of Charity In this section I think Penn was trying to teach us about helping others within our own means. If we give with a helpful and pure heart we will receive back a great deal more.

47. Lend not beyond thy Ability, nor refuse to lend out of thy Ability; especially when it will help others more than it can hurt thee.

48. If thy Debtor be honest and capable, thou hast thy Mony again, if not with Encrease, with Praise: If he prove insolvent, don’t ruin him to get that, which it will not ruin thee to lose: For thou art but a Steward, and another is thy Owner, Master and Judge.

49. The more merciful Acts thou dost, the more Mercy thou wilt receive; and if with a charitable Imployment of thy Temporal Riches, thou gainest eternal Treasure, thy Purchase is infinite: Thou wilt have found the Art of Multiplying3 indeed.

ApparelNow here Penn’s wisdom was simply about how we dress. If we have more clothes than we need, that is vain on our part. We should not just have clothes because we want them. He also talks of keeping our attire simple and decent, not fancy for the purpose of showing off. We should be happy enough being clean and warm. Modesty is good for us.

73. Excess in Apparel is another costly Folly. The very Trimming of the vain World would cloath all the naked one.

74. Chuse thy Cloaths by thine own Eyes, not another’s. The more plain and simple they are, the better. Neither unshapely, nor fantastical; and for Use and Decency, and not for Pride.

75. If thou art clean and warm, it is sufficient; for more doth but rob the Poor, and please the Wanton.

76. It is said of the true Church, the King’s Daughter is all glorious within. Let our Care therefore be of our Minds more than of our Bodies, if we would be of her Communion.

77. We are told with Truth, that Meekness and Modesty are the Rich and Charming Attire of the Soul: And the plainer the Dress, the more Distinctly, and with greater Lustre, their Beauty shines.

78. It is great Pity such Beauties are so rare, and those of Jezebel’s Forehead are so common: Whose Dresses are Incentives to Lust; but Bars instead of Motives, to Love or Vertue.

These aphorisms were enlightening, hard to understand at times, but overall I felt I was able to learn from them.