The American Crisis (1776-1783)
Famously beginning, “THESE are the times that try men’s souls…”, these essays bolstered the morale of American troops in their fight with the British. Thomas Paine began this series of sixteen essays in 1776 when he was serving in the Continental Army. General George Washington had the Crisis essays read to the troops at Valley Forge.
They also strengthened Americans’ commitment to self-government and the break from England . He argued that it was the responsibility of all to act with courage against the British, and that integrity demanded that all Americans lend their support. He wrote, “I call upon not a few, but all: not on this state or that state, but every state: up and help us.”