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 every thing 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.Thomas Paine, from The Crisis, #1 of The Federalist Papers
To celebrate this week when we especially remember the birth of our nation through the fires of revolution upon the founding principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it is only fitting that I return to some of those essential documents, those deepening places, that brought hope to a soon-to-be nation. Though we are not fighting against the tyranny of Britain, we are fighting tyrannical forces driven by greed and hate both within our country and from without. These words, now nearly 244 years old, issue a resounding call to action once again. As a bonus feature, you should listen to Jason Upton’s “Freedom” to set the mood! Click on the hyperlinked text below to read the entire pamphlet as a PDF.
Dec. 19, 1776: Published as a pamphlet in Philadelphia.
Dec. 24, 1776: Read to Washington’s troops before the crossing of the Delaware River and victory in the Battle of Trenton.