In the winter of 1776, the American War of Independence, which had been declared only a few months before, was in trouble. British troops had quickly advanced through New York and New Jersey to crush the rebellion, and the Continental army was in retreat and on the verge of disintegration. At the end of that year, on December 23, Thomas Paine, who had previously inspired the revolutionary cause with his stilling pamphlet Common Sense, published the first of a new series of essays aptly titled The Crisis.
Paine had a gift for memorable phrasing and the first words of The Crisis soon became famous.
General Washington found the writing so uplifting that, during the bleak winter of 1777 at Valley Forge, he ordered Paine's essay to be read by all the troops.
Paine continued his writing through the duration of the war with eloquent appeals for justice addressed to British leaders and citizens, and uplifting words to bolster the patriots in their light for independence.
A document that provides many insights into the hardships and precarious uncertainties that threatened the birth of the nation as well as the many reasons for carrying on the fight, The Crisis belongs on every American's bookshelf.
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