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"Voice of Common Sense" - citations correct?

rkslperez 2 / 1  
Apr 11, 2007   #1
Hey there,

I was wondering if someone could glance through my paper and let me know if my citations are in the correct form. Last time I had all my intext citations incorrect. I tried really hard this time to do it correctly. I know it looks like alot to read but i just wanted a second opinion before i turned it in. Can someone look though it?


Voice of Common Sense;
Thomas Paine

In the following paper, a summarized account will show how Thomas Paine, a propagandist, became one of America's most influential voices in American History with his pamphlets "The Crisis" and "Common Sense". Also, establish Paines's objective when writing his pamphlets. Next, look at what inspires these pamphlets, as well as, explore techniques Paine uses to sell his ideas to the colonists. Then, illustrate present day similarities in adverting practices vs. those Paine uses in his pamphlets. Finally, explore Paine's goals and effectiveness in his writings.

Steven Kreis of History Guide states, Thomas Paine's early adult life shaped his views on independence, turning him into one of America's valued propagandists and voice to America's common people. Going on to say, he was born to a poor Quaker corset maker who did not respect education and demands apprenticeship to his family profession. Soon after taking time to 'find himself' at sea, Paine granted his fathers wishes, finally returning to take over his fathers business. Kries states Paine spends six years as excise officer managing his new shop. Paine marries twice; his first wife died in within a year of their marriage in 1760, then he quickly remarries in 1771, both marriages were childless, and neither brought him much happiness. Soon he legally separates from his second wife in 1774, mere days before he embarked for America. (Kreis) Paine's upbringing is a direct result of his passion and fever for independence and happiness.

Paine spent his early adult life constrained by others principle's and ideas for his future. As with most young men emerging into their own, he wanted freedom to express his views. A sentiment stated by his good friend Benjamin Franklin, who also once reminded him to conform to society's cares, while holding fast to his beliefs. He wrote a letter to Paine saying society wants peace, contentment, and stirring the pot will bring harm to the states, "you will not succeed so as to change the general sentiments of mankind". He went on to warn against publishing Paine's pamphlet, "Age of Reason", stating, "...do not attempt unchaining the tiger, but to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person". (Franklin) True to Paine's inner nature, he did indeed; stir the pot with his controversial sentiments.

Richard DeStefano of Revolution to Reconstruction states, Paine has great fever for war against Britain; an opinion not shared by many. Further stating his views on war are a celebration of independence not a battle cry, knowing triumphant over war will not be successful without colonist support. The country became divided into three groups; neutrals, loyalists, and patriots. Paine needs all men to join the cause or defeat is imminent. (DeStefano) Paine states to these few, "lay your shoulders to the wheel; better to have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake." (Paine) His journalistic skills proved worthy on January 10, 1776 when "Common Sense" publishes. In one swift move, Paine became America's voice of inspiration and propaganda. (DeStefano) Propagandist, defined as a specific type of message or presentation aimed at serving one's own agenda, a correct description of Paine's objectives. ("Propaganda.") Finally sealing his fate as thee propagandist of America, he wrote, "The Crisis", inspiring his fellow man to rise up against British tyranny. Kries states, sentiments of victory and valor befall readers. Many throw down their craftsmen tools and pick up guns. The common man began to see the newly formed States as something worth fighting for. (Kries)

Paine's objectives in his propaganda pamphlets urge his reader to stand up and fight for their freedoms, calling for revolution and civil liberty. According to Benni Leemhuis of History Guide says, Paine calls for uprising and challenges many commonly held assumptions about government and most colonist' relationship to Britain. Paine writes, "Tories, and especially neutrals, just want peace and reserve fighting for another day" although, this is not the day for peace but the day for battle. Leemhuis goes on, Paine sets out to inspire revolt against from tyranny Britain brings to their shores. Paine shouts Britain is at their doorstep and they must fight to defend it. He wants an outraged and agitated reader with emotions their fellow patriots feel. Furthermore stating, "The Crisis" shows common people were complicit with their lives and do not wish to disrupt it. (Leemhuis) Paine writes, "...either they or we must change our sentiments, or one or both must fall." War is coming, life cannot remain the same; Britain tyranny is at hand. (Paine) He appeals in a language colonists can understand using techniques they grasp.

Paine accomplishes his objective by balancing his eagerness for revolution while sympathizing with each common man's wariness of defeat. DeStefano points out he brings comfort to his readers, arming them with tactical knowledge of battles and strategies for victory. (DeStefano) Paine writes, "America could carry on a two years' war by the confiscation of the property of disaffected persons, and be made happy by their expulsion. Say not that this is revenge, call it rather the soft resentment of a suffering people" (Paine) Colonist's attitudes concerning independence mix and divide each other but Paine gathers them together in unity. (Kreis) Summing up his objective with, "...call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us...better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake." (Paine)

Paine's technique included plain speech, bandwagon, testimonial, repetition, and 'lesser of two evils'. Paine's speech delivers a plain-crisp spoken commentary outlining obstacles colonist faced with their struggle with Britain. (DeStefano) He brings terms down to an average man's understanding. He informs readers how England's government suffers for years without improvements and common states suffer in return. In addition to simple speech, Paine uses the bandwagon approach to encourage revolt. Stressing only a few holdouts remain; stand up and join those ranks already in place. (Kries)

Paine continues to urge colonists with his testimonials of a better tomorrow stating, "America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion". Playing on their emotions, he recalls a conversation with a man wanting peace in his day, counteracting with, "...a generous parent should have said, 'If there must be trouble, let it be in this day, that our child may have peace' ...this single reflection...awakens men to duty." He also addresses how time is wearing thin on men already in place, stating, "I always considered militia as the best troops in the world for a sudden exertion, but they will not do for a long campaign." (Paine) Pleas for passion and use of repetition never fade in his writings. (Kries)

Among many powerful techniques Paine's uses to persuade his readers, repetition becomes an influential tool. DeStefano states, Paine uses repetition and fever while writing, expressing only through independence will British rule be gone. Paine's target audience labor and tolled most daylight hours, not leaving time to read or reflect on his pamphlets. DeStefano states Paine knew keeping it short and on point, and most of all, no matter which section they turned to, they read his point clearly. Mass media was in her infancy but still a very powerful tool at Paine's disposal. "The Crisis" uses force and metaphors to show how serious Britain wants America's submission. (DeStefano) Paine continues to remind his reader Britain's hold on America with repetition throughout "The Crisis".

Paine shows his readers no matter what views on war one has; it is the lesser of two evils. Colonists must decide between submissions to Britain's evils or fight for freedom, even at the cost of death. ("Propagandist") Paine writes in his pamphlet "Common Sense", "The laying a country desolate with Fire and Sword, declaring War against the natural rights of all Mankind, and extirpating the defenders thereof from the face of the earth, is the concern of every man to whom nature hath given the power of feeling." (Paine) Colonists begin to panic, a response Paine addresses, "Yet panic, in some cases, has their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before" (Paine) People make their decision to live in constraints or live in a place freedom, at any cost.

Many present day similarities in advertising practices show Paine's techniques for swaying readers one way or the other. For example, according to "Advertising Vocabulary", 'weasel words' or 'testimonials'; used to suggest a positive meaning without actually making any guarantee, such as a scientist claims SlimFast might help in weight lose the way it helped others to lose weight. Another present day example as well as the past, 'simple solutions' or 'plain speech'; avoiding complexities by attaching many problems to one solutions, such as, drink this smoothie and youth, health, and beauty will happen. In addition to 'weasel words' and 'plain speech', "Advertising Vocabulary" states 'glittering generalities' is another widely used practice. Paine's pamphlets spoke of great success and bravery but never really said exactly what was to follow, "Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered." (Paine) The reader is not sure what Tyranny is but they know it is not an easy task to defeat. Companies trying to sell automobiles, which offer a younger appearance or higher status in society, carry the same 'glitter ads'. ("Advertising") Many techniques stem from Paine and other propagandists of the late 1700s. With the help of these, 'advertising techniques', Paine effectively achieves his goals.

Paine proves a necessary revolt against Britain will not hinder the colonist beliefs in their Lord God. Commentator Benni Leemhuis states Paine uses common beliefs of patriotism and religion most colonists held close. He took his time ensuring his ideas of war were not against their beliefs. (Leemhuis) After reading numerous pamphlets, colonists had a better understanding their situation was about freedom and not war. Steven Kries states, Paine changed how people viewed independence. After reading his writings, colonists understood this to be a noble cause of liberty, not a bloody war of defeat. Paine's goals to inspire his common folk into realizing their basic human rights of freedom were in jeopardy. (Kries) Comforting his readers with statements such as, "I thank God that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it." (Paine) Kries states his writing ignited revolutionary sentiment, which before "The Crisis", only held by Patriots. (Kries) After reading Paine's' writing on liberty and freedom, colonist hold tight to a higher standard of living, "The sign of fear was not seen in our camp..." (Paine) Colonists agree with Paine's assumption no man born an equal human being should have rule over another. (Leemhuis) Many now grasped ideas of freedom and unity towards America's Cause. (Kries)

In conclusion, through Thomas Paine's convictions and writings, he became thee propagandist to a growing American Revolution movement. "The Crisis" and "Common Sense" set out to rally people together and bring forth a dominating force for independence. Paine's journalist skills of metaphors, repetition, and passion encourage colonist to join his cause and fight for independence. Paine's effective writing skills achieve goals of independence sought by many. George Bancroft states by summer 1776, patriots had control of all thirteen territories; leaving loyalists powerless. All thirteen states overthrough their existing governments, closed courts and drove British agents from their homes. (Wikipdia) His propaganda techniques propel readers into believing they are in jeopardy and must stand up for their newly formed States. Paine set a goal to inspire nuetrals to fight for freedom and in doing so, American's won their independence.

Work Cited

"Advertising Vocabulary." Media Literacy. April 28, 2004. Online.

DeStefano, Richard. "Thomas Paine's The Crisis, Number One, 1776." Revolution to Reconstruction. March 6, 2003. Online. Department of Humanities Computing, Alfa-Informatica.

Franklin, Benjamin. "Benjamin Franklin To Thomas Paine." Online.

Kreis, Steven. "Thomas Paine, 1737-1809." History Guide. Lecture 14, the Language of Politics: England and the French Revolution. 2006. Online.

Leemhuis, Benni. "Thomas Paine, 1737-1809." History Guide. Lecture 14, the Language of Politics: England and the French Revolution. 2006. Online.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Apr 11, 2007   #2

I'd be happy to give you some pointers! There are also many online sites which explain the proper use of various forms of citation. Doing an internet search using "MLA citation" (or whatever style of citation you need) will get you several good ones.

I am assuming you are needing MLA citation for your paper. MLA uses in-text parentheticals which give the author's name and the page number of your reference. For example, (DeStefano 413) would mean page 413 of DeStafano's book. If you use the author's name in the sentence, you only need the page number: Destafano agrees with this view (413). Notice that you do not put the ending punctuation until after the citation, even when quoting: "I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it" (Paine). You will need to go through your essay and correct each citation. (I know ... sigh) ;-)

On your Works Cited list, make sure the titles of books are in italics (it may not show here); titles of articles are in quotation marks. For internet sources, after the name of the organization affiliated with the site, don't use "Online." Put the date in this format: 02 April 2007. Put a period after the final caret: >.

If this raises more questions than it answers, I highly recommend finding a good site that gives examples of how to cite MLA style. If your instructor wants a different style, that should be fairly easy to find, too.

Best of luck!


Sarah, EssayForum.com

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