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The Revolutionary

Thomas Paine (1737-1809), portrait by Auguste Milliere, currently in the National Portrait Gallery, London.

The Pamphlet That Stirred a Nation

Thomas Paine penned his famous radical pamphlet Common Sense in January, 1776. He urged the American Colonies to declare independence and immediately cut all ties with the British monarchy.

These Are the Times That Try Men's Souls

Thomas Paine's The American Crisis, December 1776. This pamphlet, correctly advertised as "written by the author of Common Sense," was, as the description recounts, "written during Washington's retreat across the Delaware and by his order was read to his dispirited and suffering soldiers. The opening sentence was adopted as the watchword of the movement to Trenton: '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 his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.'"

Declaring Freedom

This is the official signed copy of the Declaration of Independence, 2 August 1776. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson in June 1776, the Declaration of Independence was famously adopted by the Continental Congress on 4 July 1776. It was engrossed on parchment but not until 2 August 1776 did all the delegates actually begin signing it.

Signing the Declaration

This famous painting by John Trumbull was commissioned in 1817 and placed in the Capitol Rotunda in 1826. A duplicate of this work appears on the reverse of the rarely circulated two-dollar-bill, but five figures were cut out of the reproduction in order to make the dimensions fit onto the currency.

The Author of Independence

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), painted by Charles Willson Peale.

Jefferson's Inspiration

George Mason (1725-1792) of Virginia. Painted by Dominic Boudet.

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