Thomas Paine: The Crisis, No. 1

(1776)

After the phenomenal success of Common Sense in aligning popular American opinion with the cause of the Revolution, Thomas Paine became the unofficial propagandist of the new nation. He spent the campaigning season of 1776 with George Washington’s army in New York and New Jersey, writing articles meant to prop up public support for the rebellion despite the series of unmitigated military disasters Washington suffered that year. At what seemed the lowest point of American military fortunes, Paine published the first issue of The Crisis, also known as The American Crisis, a pamphlet that was read out to Washington’s army prior to the crossing of the Delaware and the vital American success at the Battle of Trenton. In The Crisis, No. 1, Paine acknowledges that the war had reached a crisis point but foresaw a favorable outcome for the colonies. Paine produced thirteen issues of The Crisis throughout the war years. These pamphlets were published at irregular intervals and...

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Thomas Paine (Library of Congress)

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