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Friday, January 11, 2008

Paine Sense

Thomas Paine is credited, through the pamphlet Common Sense, of building popular support for the fight for American independence from England. Paine’s prose was powerful, articulate, emotional and persuasive. (Some later called it propaganda!) He continued to educate and persuade people in his American Crisis papers including American Crisis No. I when he wrote “these are the times that try men’s souls.” Also attributed to Thomas Paine is “lead, follow or get out the way.” From revolutionary times to the present, writers, leaders and everyday Americans help capture a period of time and move citizens with their eloquence. John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln and Susan B. Anthony are four that come quickly to mind. What historical or literary words have moved you? Let us know.

2 comments:

Mary said...

One of my favorite speeches is from Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" speech at the Women's Convention of 1851. One quote is "That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman?"

Anonymous said...

Who was not moved by JFK's inaugural words,
"Ask not what your country can do for your but what you can do for our country" ? or

FDR's "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" ? --

such words of vision and inspiration!