“Politician vs. Preacher vs. Politician!” : The Expository Essay
Thomas Paine was the poorly educated son of a corset maker, who later became a journalist thanks to Benjamin Franklin. When the Revolutionary War began, Thomas Paine wrote a 47 paged pamphlet entitled “Common Sense” which denounced King George the Third (the then King of England) as a “royal brute”. In 1776, Paine joined the Continental Army as it retreated across New Jersey to Philadelphia. As he traveled with the army, Paine wrote a series of 16 pamphlets called “The American Crisis”. It commented on the war and urged the Patriots not to give up the fight for freedom against the British. “The Crisis No. 1” was read to George Washington’s troops only a few days before they re-crossed the Delaware River to attack the British-held city of Trenton, New Jersey. It is my believe that Thomas Paine’s use of the use of rhetorical devices in “Crisis No. 1” far exceeded those used by Jonathan Edwards’ sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and Patrick Henry’s speech “Speech to the Virginia Convention”. That is not to say that he didn’t fall short in some areas, but he was the most compelling to me while the others only touched on the surface. Paine bested both Edwards and Henry in the fields of rhetorical question, emotional and logical appeal, anecdote, figurative language, and loaded words.
Rhetorical Question is a figure of speech in the form of a question without the expectation of a reply. It is generally used to make people question their own actions when asked if they’d allow something that is bad to continue. In “The Crisis No. 1”, Thomas Paine rhetorically asks if the Americans would allow a thief to: break into their houses, burn their property, and kill their families. He then goes on to ask his readers if they’d allow said thief to bind them to his “absolute will” and suffer it. He finishes this by asking if it should matter if it’s a thief, common man, countryman, or king. Paine...
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