Articles Comments

SENTRY JOURNAL » Constitution, Delaware Crossing, Founding Fathers, George Washington, The American Crisis, Thomas Paine » The American Crisis

The American Crisis

From 1776 to 1783 Thomas Paine published sixteen pamphlets known as The American Crisis.  These pamphlets were crafted to inspire the colonists during the turbulent times of the American Revolution.  The first was released on December 23, 1776.  What makes this pamphlet so vital in our country’s history is that Thomas Paine crafted the right words for the right time during the early days of our struggle for independence.  Those words inspired General Washington into action.  The pamphlet, was read aloud to the Continental army on December 23, 1776, two days before the Battle of Trenton.  The first paragraph from it was a call for courage and perseverance.

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to tax) but “to bind us in all cases whatsoever,” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

It was December 1776 and all appeared lost after the Continental Army met with defeat after defeat against a better trained and more organized enemy.  The British felt the rebellion was crushed and George Washington was nothing more than an annoyance.  Below is an excerpt from the New World Encyclopedia
“General Washington was faced with overwhelming military odds and the certain destruction of the American colonies’ quest for independence. Twelve thousand British troops were slowed only by weather in their unopposed advance across New Jersey. Facing separate army groups under the seasoned commands of British Generals Howe, and Cornwallis, Washington knew his options were limited. A keen student of history and a former officer of the Virginia Regiment in the British Army, George Washington was well aware this enemy had not lost a war in centuries.”
“His remaining 2,400 men on the western bank of the Delaware River huddled nine miles north of the Hessian encampment at Trenton had few choices. They were surrounded by unfriendly locals who believed the revolution all but lost, and tradesmen unwilling to extend credit. They were cold and hungry and for many their enlistments were up in less than one week. In the face of certain and permanent defeat, Washington chose Christmas Day, 1776, to sling his stone at the goliath’s forehead.”
I have chosen this precise moment in our nation’s history because the events and actions of patriots in the past can still inspire the American spirit.  George Washington and his 2,400 men on that cold December day decided that liberty, freedom, and self governance were worth fighting for.  With scarce provisions, little food, and inadequate winter clothes, they attacked and defeated a better trained Hessian force against all the odds.  We are all blessed that such men lived.
Today an oppressive wind is blowing from the East and Americans are standing at a crossroads and must again decide if liberty, freedom, and self governance are worth fighting for.  Our economy is a mess.  Our politicians are corrupt.  And many feel that we have lost our way.  Has the great experiment failed us or have we failed it.  I can’t help but return to the words of Thomas Paine; “These are the times that try men’s souls.”  Do you have the courage and perseverance to see this through?  Are you willing to stand up for the Republic and the Constitution?  Or do you shrink from the service of your country?
These are questions you must ask yourself, because America is indeed in crisis again. 
Liberty forever, freedom for all!


Filed under: Constitution, Delaware Crossing, Founding Fathers, George Washington, The American Crisis, Thomas Paine

opinions powered by
  • Right Hand Man March 19, 2010 at 7:36 AM

    How dare you quote history that isn't found in public school books! 🙂

  • The Born Again American March 19, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    Here comes the pitch, he swings, (in my best Chris Berman) back, back, back, it's outa here…
    John, you've knocked another one out of the park…

    Indeed our country faces an enemy and sadly, it comes from within…

    "FAITH HOPE CHARITY" are going to lead us back to where we belong, for if we fail, God have mercy on our souls…

  • John Carey March 19, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    LOL Right!

  • John Carey March 19, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    Thanks for the comments BA. I think it is necessary for each of us to look within ourselves to see if we have the inner strength to pick up and carry the banner of freedom. It is a heavy load, but a load worth carrying.

  • Ron Russell March 19, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    You write great post buddy and this is just another in a long line. This is not a time for the fair weather soldier or the sunshine patriot. Well they have all run for cover by now or thrown down their muskets and walked away. I already hear the voices of defeat. This is just one battle in a protacted conflict that never really ends. The patriot must always continue to defend the revolution and the American way.

  • Matt March 19, 2010 at 9:07 PM

    What can I say John, you've captured the situation completely, in two consecutive posts. Ron is correct in his comment. If we learn anything from this sad episode in the history of our republic, it is that we can NEVER fall asleep at the switch. The left will keep coming, as they are relentless in their quest for total power.

    It's put up or shut up time, and I am grateful to be associated with fine patriots such as those I've met via blogging.

  • John Carey March 19, 2010 at 10:48 PM

    Ron and Matt, thank you both for the comments. There are indeed patriots that understand the score and know that a crisis is upon us. For 23 years in the military I swore to support and defend the Constitution. This is a charge I do not take lightly. The enemies of liberty and freedom are entrenched and well organized and today as it was 234 years ago men and women are finding the strength and courage to stand up for liberty and freedom. The wind is changing and the tide is turning. We must keep up the pressure and continue to advance. We must leave the Republic in a better place than we found her for the next generation. It is our duty…our honor.

  • LD Jackson March 20, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    Great article, John. As usual, of course. I think it is something every American should have to read.

  • John Carey March 20, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    Thanks LD.

    We need to remember our history. These politicians today are an absolute embarrassment. I have no doubt in my mind that if they had to make the same choice back then that George Washington and his 2,400 men did, we would still be under the heel of England.

  • davidwwalters March 20, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    Where were you guys when the country crossed over into the land of red ink?

  • John Carey March 20, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    Thanks for dropping by David. I cannot speak for everyone, but as for me I was asleep at the wheel. I took liberty and freedom for granted. I am now awake and ready to get back to the basics that made this nation great! It's time to end the entitlement programs and free the market so we can all have the same opportunities for success.

  • Matt March 20, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    @ davidwalters, Where are you now?

    John, I never knew that you had served. Thanks for you service, as well as your ongoing efforts.

  • davidwwalters March 20, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    Matt,I'm for making this country work for the working man

  • John Carey March 20, 2010 at 8:50 PM

    I did serve Matt for 23 years in the Air Force. It was great experience.

  • davidwwalters March 20, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    John, we've tried that free market approach since Reagan and it is a tired old record…..

  • John Carey March 20, 2010 at 11:43 PM


    actually we haven't tried the free market economy approach since FDR's New Deal. It has been a mixed economy since the 1930s with heavy governmental intervention. This mixed economy approached that we mistakenly call a free market simply hasn’t worked.

    Take a look at its track record; it has lowered the standard of living for many Americans and has pushed manufacturing jobs out of the country. Why set up shop here in the United States with so much regulation and corporate taxes when you can set up shop in India or Ireland with very little government intervention and lower taxes. Companies are in the business to make money and they will go wherever the business environment is friendlier.

    Because of this our private sector has become weaker and less efficient. Capitalism is not what fails; it's the driver that is steering it, to include government entities that fail. We can continue to demonize big business and banks, but the fact is that government intervention is more to blame for this current economic downturn than the private sector.

    They lit the fuse with the housing crisis and when it exploded it impacted sectors of the market. Than they had the nerve to tell us they had to fix what the private sector destroyed. Look it up about how the government pretty much threatened these banks unless they made high risks loans to less than credit worthy applicants. The selling of the mortgages was a defensive move by the banks because they knew the loans were trouble. They wanted to make some money by selling the loans because that's what banks or any private company is in business to do…make money. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with making money.

    We have a bunch of Keynesians in the government right now that think they can steer the market. Keynesians economics simply does not work. Take a look at Europe and tell me how their mixed economy is working out.

  • davidwwalters March 21, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    John Carey, that story about how we've never quite reached "pure" capitalism reminds me of the official Soviet version of Communist history. As to "……Take a look at Europe and tell me how their mixed economy is working out."
    -why not add the People's republic of China?

  • John Carey March 21, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    David, the people's republic of China employs a kind of capitalism light system with pretty much low wage slave labor, so we really shouldn’t use them for any model. Any country is going to have a surge at first when you have workers that originally earned very minimal wages and you bump them up to workers that earn low wages. This in my mind removes China of the capitalism discussion table because they really aren’t the textbook example capitalism. Unless they free up more of the market, it will eventually dry up.

    The fact is we did practice a more pure form of capitalism with minimal government intervention up until around the 1930s. We went from a nation struggling to pay off debt from a costly civil war to an economic world power in 65 years. That’s absolutely unreal. Capitalism works! Does it have its negatives, you bet. Are there going to be winners and losers; yes there will be, but not because of the capitalistic environment or restrictions on liberties. Overall capitalism has done more to advance the human condition than any form of government or socialistic economic system. Our standard of living is one of the best in the world overall. In fact we already know a socialistic control of the economy doesn't work because it has consistently failed when tried.

  • davidwwalters March 22, 2010 at 7:18 AM

    "……In fact we already know a socialistic control of the economy doesn't work because it has consistently failed when tried."
    So what success was there about the stock market crashes of '29 and 2008? Is it to be argued that with just a bit less control over the markets at those two periods, the crashes would have never occurred? No John, Capitalism isn't a total success story either

  • John Carey March 22, 2010 at 9:27 PM

    This will be my last comment on this issue. It is apparent to me that clearly you support a socialistic style economic system. Somehow you bought into the concept that capitalism is evil. So no matter what case I make or the examples I present it will not be enough to convince you will that socialistic controls of an economy trample the rights of workers and their property rights. You will in-turn say the same about capitalism and we will accomplish very little. I believe in the free market system. It has served us well as a nation. Yes it has its faults, but these faults can usually be traced by to some type of government regulation or intervention. A capitalistic system goes through cycles so yes there will be down turns. But the benefits far outweigh the costs. This is my last word on it. Thank you for dropping by. We would not have made the advances in the human condition without it. I’m convinced of this. Thanks for the debate.

  • davidwwalters March 23, 2010 at 8:44 AM

    John, i support common sense controls on unmitigated greed and corruption of the economic system that sadly is endemic to unfettered capitalism. Capitalism isn't evil, however some people use capitalism in ways that run counter to our nations best interest. We have laws to keep companies from doing business with enemies of our nation. This only makes sense. We also have laws to keep corporations from fouling our water and air.
    Property rights are fine to an extent…..but what one does on their property can affect their neighbors, such as a junkyard, a brothel, or a coal fired electrical generation plant. It takes laws and regulations to keep all involved fair to one another. Allowing no role for the government to step in allows some to take advantage of their neighbors to increase that bottom line.
    John, i understand business cycles, but the last two Wall St. blunders were due to unregulated greed. It is in our nation's interest to continue to reign in unfettered greed, and that is what federal and state regulations intend to do…..act as the parent when the capitalist acts childish.