Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The American Crisis: Revisited

 

Two days before Christmas in 1776, General George Washington sat down at his Valley Forge encampment. His weary Continental Army had just spent a season punctuated with a series of battlefield losses, and the imposing British army seemed in control of their fate.

Washington took out a pamphlet he’d just received titled The Crisis, written by Thomas Paine, and amid the falling snow he read the following words:

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 by 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…

– Thomas Paine, from The Crisis (part I), Dec. 23rd, 1776

Do you feel like the weight of the current struggle is testing your resolve? Are you discouraged after a year of conflict, often characterized by defeats and encroachments on your liberty with no end in sight?

…I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent. Neither have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that He has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils.

– Thomas Paine, from The Crisis (part I), Dec. 23rd, 1776

Do the bombastic voices of those opposed to the One True God mock you? Does the victory dance of these actors causes you to question the promises He has confirmed in your heart and that you have so fervently fought for?

‘Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them…Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered.

– Thomas Paine, from The Crisis (part I), Dec. 23rd, 1776

Are you ready to stand up and walk with your head held high, speak life into the current struggle, and face whatever develops today, tomorrow, or next week? Are you ready to meet the conflict head-on?

Yet it is folly to argue against determined hardness; eloquence may strike the ear, and the language of sorrow draw forth the tear of compassion, but nothing can reach the heart that is steeled with prejudice. Quitting this class of men, I turn with the warm ardor of a friend to those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out: I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake.

– Thomas Paine, from The Crisis (part I), Dec. 23rd, 1776

Now is the time for men and women of God to hit their knees in prayer. Now is the time for those who believe the lives of the innocent are worth fighting for to raise their hands in worship, and sing out to the God who brings the dead back to life. Now is the time for His people to proclaim his promises with renewed energy and joyful expectancy.

Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but “show your faith by your works,” that God may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike.

– Thomas Paine, from The Crisis (part I), Dec. 23rd, 1776

In a year that has tried men’s souls, let the first snowflakes of winter be a reminder that the Lord will always have the last say, that his promises are true, and they are for you, today, and evermore.

I thank God, that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it…This is our situation, and who will may know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils – a ravaged country – a depopulated city – habitations without safety, and slavery without hope…Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.

– Thomas Paine, from The Crisis (part I), Dec. 23rd, 1776

Washington closed the pamphlet and thought. He rose, walked to his command tent, and got to work.

Two days later he read the pamphlet aloud to his troops before leading them across the Delaware River in the most audacious attack in American military history, defeating an unprepared enemy on Christmas morning. Eight days after that, he defeated one of the most formidable enemies on earth, Earl Cornwallis at the Battle of Princeton.

And later on, after a number of additional struggles, setbacks, and hard-fought victories, Washington was finally able to claim the final victory sweeter for its difficulty, because as Paine said, the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 12 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. JoelB Member

    Is it fitting to begin praying the imprecatory Psalms yet?

    • #1
    • November 20, 2020, at 10:30 AM PST
    • 1 like
  2. Spin Coolidge
    SpinJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I like this post. I feel that commenting that I like it is better than clicking like, which I have also done…

    • #2
    • November 20, 2020, at 11:27 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  3. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra

    Spin (View Comment):

    I like this post. I feel that commenting that I like it is better than clicking like, which I have also done…

    We all need the encouragement heading into the weekend. Thanks.

    • #3
    • November 20, 2020, at 12:10 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  4. Ron Selander Member

    “Now is the time for men and women of God to hit their knees in prayer. Now is the time for those who believe the lives of the innocent are worth fighting for to raise their hands in worship, and sing out to the God who brings the dead back to life. Now is the time for His people to proclaim his promises with renewed energy and joyful expectancy.” 

    Amen!

    • #4
    • November 21, 2020, at 12:10 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. Cliff Hadley Thatcher

    Good post, one fact error: The Continental Army marched from victories at Trenton and Princeton to its encampment at Morristown, N.J., beginning in January 1777. Encampment at Valley Forge was from December 1777 to June 1778.

    • #5
    • November 21, 2020, at 3:26 PM PST
    • 1 like
  6. ShaunaHunt Coolidge

    Let God Prevail!

    • #6
    • November 22, 2020, at 10:21 PM PST
    • 1 like
  7. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra

    Cliff Hadley (View Comment):

    Good post, one fact error: The Continental Army marched from victories at Trenton and Princeton to its encampment at Morristown, N.J., beginning in January 1777. Encampment at Valley Forge was from December 1777 to June 1778.

    My bad, unfortunately since it’s on the main page I can’t edit it without it getting bumped off. Thanks for the clarification. 

    • #7
    • November 23, 2020, at 12:01 AM PST
    • Like
  8. Cliff Hadley Thatcher

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Cliff Hadley (View Comment):

    Good post, one fact error: The Continental Army marched from victories at Trenton and Princeton to its encampment at Morristown, N.J., beginning in January 1777. Encampment at Valley Forge was from December 1777 to June 1778.

    My bad, unfortunately since it’s on the main page I can’t edit it without it getting bumped off. Thanks for the clarification.

    I’ve been reading loads of Revolutionary War histories and Founders’ bios lately — currently McCullough’s “John Adams” — and so feel knowledgeable somewhat.

    • #8
    • November 23, 2020, at 12:08 PM PST
    • Like
  9. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra

    Cliff Hadley (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Cliff Hadley (View Comment):

    Good post, one fact error: The Continental Army marched from victories at Trenton and Princeton to its encampment at Morristown, N.J., beginning in January 1777. Encampment at Valley Forge was from December 1777 to June 1778.

    My bad, unfortunately since it’s on the main page I can’t edit it without it getting bumped off. Thanks for the clarification.

    I’ve been reading loads of Revolutionary War histories and Founders’ bios lately — currently McCullough’s “John Adams” — and so feel knowledgeable somewhat.

    John Adams (the book…and I guess the man as well) was fantastic. Any other recommendations?

    • #9
    • November 23, 2020, at 12:18 PM PST
    • Like
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. philo Member

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Cliff Hadley (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Cliff Hadley (View Comment):

    Good post, one fact error: The Continental Army marched from victories at Trenton and Princeton to its encampment at Morristown, N.J., beginning in January 1777. Encampment at Valley Forge was from December 1777 to June 1778.

    My bad, unfortunately since it’s on the main page I can’t edit it without it getting bumped off. Thanks for the clarification.

    I’ve been reading loads of Revolutionary War histories and Founders’ bios lately — currently McCullough’s “John Adams” — and so feel knowledgeable somewhat.

    John Adams (the book…and I guess the man as well) was fantastic. Any other recommendations?

    Sometime this weekend I am going to dig into my notes from 1775: A Good Year for Revolution by Kevin Phillips. Also, while just a long hard copy and not a book, I am currently reading through an old favorite: The Farmer Refuted by Alexander Hamilton. Both seem right for the times.

    • #10
    • November 23, 2020, at 12:37 PM PST
    • Like
  11. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra

    philo (View Comment):
    Both seem right for the times.

    That’s why I’m re-reading A Tale of Two Cities, and The Republic for Which it Stands by Richard White.

    • #11
    • November 23, 2020, at 12:50 PM PST
    • 1 like
  12. Cliff Hadley Thatcher

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Cliff Hadley (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Cliff Hadley (View Comment):

    Good post, one fact error: The Continental Army marched from victories at Trenton and Princeton to its encampment at Morristown, N.J., beginning in January 1777. Encampment at Valley Forge was from December 1777 to June 1778.

    My bad, unfortunately since it’s on the main page I can’t edit it without it getting bumped off. Thanks for the clarification.

    I’ve been reading loads of Revolutionary War histories and Founders’ bios lately — currently McCullough’s “John Adams” — and so feel knowledgeable somewhat.

    John Adams (the book…and I guess the man as well) was fantastic. Any other recommendations?

    For a change of pace, I’m reading McCullough’s “Mornings on Horseback” on Teddy Roosevelt — who I’ve never particularly liked, but may after that — and Chernow’s “Alexander Hamilton,” whose my fave revolutionary. Then I’ll reread Magnet’s “Founding Fathers’ Homes.” 

    • #12
    • November 24, 2020, at 4:14 PM PST
    • Like