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A Revolutionary Mindset; cultural and political characteristics of revolutionary America


richardjolly 1 / -  
Oct 6, 2014   #1
I'm writing an analytical essay for an English class about the cultural and political characteristics of revolutionary America based on the works of Ben Franklin, John and Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine. Of these I am required to use exactly three authors.

Writing about Franklin and Paine was easy, but now I need help brain storming a few characteristics about one of the other 3. To me none of them represent American Ideals the way BF and TP do.

Also I have no transitions yet, any advice on those would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

A Revolutionary Mindset
(1st draft)

The peoples of America have always been diverse. Our colonial settlers came from many different backgrounds, for various reasons, and this diversity lead to a melting pot of values, ideas, customs, and tolerances. Still, through this jumble of personalities, some distinctly American characteristics shone through. At no time were Americans ever, or since, more distinctly American than in the times leading up to and during the American revolution. These Revolutionary American ideals are reflected in the writings of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams(?), and Thomas Paine; who are three of the most well known founding fathers. Benjamin Franklin personified the characteristics of hard work and civil service. John Adams(?) represented the ideas of (?) and (?). Thomas Paine wrote to his countrymen about the ideals of independence and rational thinking. These values and ideals did not represent every individual in revolutionary America. However, they do represent American society as a whole.

"Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a Man healthy, wealthy, and wise." (Franklin 914) Ben Franklin was no stranger to hard work, though it is not hard physical labor to which I refer. It was his dedication to staying busy; either studying, networking, writing, or inventing; that made him a successful man. In his Essay "The Way to Wealth" he includes many quotables, most of which can be paraphrased down to "hard work is the way to wealthy." Hard work is the part of the American Dream. Many people who migrated to America supported the revolution because they knew if they could work hard they could earn a living and work their way to the top. This was a characteristic passed down from the hard working puritan societies that colonized places like Plymouth, Massachusetts. It is also an ideal that separated America from the ideals of the European monarchies, where you could never work your way into the ruling class.

Benjamin Franklin was a huge contributor to public service. As an inventor he never filed a single patent, even stating in his autobiography that, "as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously."(55) In Fact, many of his creations were specifically for use in public service, such as the public library or the four pane street light. The street light is also a reflection of American ingenuity. By leaving holes in the bottom and a chimney at the top, the smoke and soot was carried out much more efficiently.(66) This way the streets would remain well lit, all for the sake of the public good. Americans of this time period valued working for the community, even though that civil duty was not a legal requirement as it would be in a communist state. (this last sentence needs to go, but I'm not sure what to put in its place)

"'TIS TIME TO PART" (Paine 1051) Thomas Paine brought the idea of advocating independence to the masses in force. His book Common Sense was a bestseller and on the tip of everyones' tongue in 1776. He used rational explanations to prove the necessity of the departure from British rule in such a way that anyone in the country could understand. Its effectiveness was in its simplicity and its message was as simple as could be, we are better off on our own. After our revolution was won he went on to help with the French revolution, once again proving his value of independence and its propagation, self reliance. It was not that he disliked monarchy or enjoyed pushing a nation towards chaos, he just felt like the people should be free to choose how they will be led. This is reflected in Rights of Man when Paine writes, ""I am not contending for nor against any form of government, nor for nor against any party here or elsewhere. That which a whole nation chooses to do, it has a right to do." (1) When he writes 'whole nation' he knows a whole nation will never truly agree, which is an inference to some sort of democratic process where the people will collectively have a choice, even if they do not all agree, and will have the opportunity to give their individual input.

In case I am doing my citations wrong here's my works cited as well.

Works cited

Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. London: J. Parson's, 1793. US History Online. Web. October 3, 2014.

Franklin, Benjamin. "The Way to Wealth." The Heath Anthology of American Literature Vol. A. Ed. Paul Lauter. 7th Edition. Boston: Wadsworth, 2006. 913-19. Print.

Lauter, Paul. Ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature Vol. A. 7th Edition. Boston: Wadsworth, 2006. Print.

Paine, Thomas. "Common Sense." The Heath Anthology of American Literature Vol. A. Ed. Paul Lauter. 7th Edition. Boston: Wadsworth, 2006. 1047-53. Print.

Paine, Thomas. The Rights of Man. Oxford: Woodstock, 1992. Print.

Wood, Gordon S. "Public Service (1753-85)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 20 Aug. 2014. Web. 01 Oct. 2014.
rubz_girl23 2 / 3  
Oct 7, 2014   #2
The peoples of America have always been diverse. Our colonial settlers came from many different backgrounds, for various reasons, and this diversity lead to a melting pot of values, ideas, customs, and tolerances. Still, through this jumble of personalities, some distinctly American characteristics shone through. At no time were Americans ever, or since, more distinctly American than in the times leading up to and during the American Revolution(It should be capital letter because its a proper noun).

In his Essay "The Way to Wealth" he includes many quotable(it should be in singular form) , most of which can be paraphrased down to "hard work is the way to wealthy."

His book Common Sense was a bestseller and on the tip of everyone's tongue in 1776.

Hope you'll learn from it...God bless us...


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