The Crisis was a document written by Thomas Paine during a time when the Continental Army’s victory seemed all but lost. They suffered numerous losses that year and many soldiers were planning to leave when their service expired at the end of the year. Paine reprimands these soldiers in “The Crisis” saying that victory against the British was not easy and reminds them that this fight would decide whether they would be free or not.The Crisis begins with the famous phrase, “THESE are the times that try men’s souls”. He goes on to describe how fairweather soldiers would give up at this point, but those that would stand and fight will reap the rewards. He further says that something has value not because we give it value, but because of the hard work we put in to obtain said thing and that something as great as freedom would undoubtedly require a difficult and arduous battle.He then states that he will not take a side regarding whether they declared themselves independent of British rule too soon or waited too long to do so, however he believes that if it were 8 months earlier they would have been able to do more.
Despite this, he also earnestly believes that God would not abandon any men who have tried to avoid this war and did everything in their power to do so.He describes war, accounting the speed at which a message is relayed. He says that even despite how fast the English army is able to act, the French did what they are trying to, led by none other than Joan of Arc. He presses that these panics also have their use as they bring out the people hiding beneath facades. He further describes his own experiences as a soldier, telling other soldiers of the time he was at fort Lee marched to Pennsylvania and is acquainted with both those who know of the war and those with little idea of what is going on. Paine says that the size of their troop was small in comparison to the British, that they lacked in equipment, that the fort was a temporary defense and was not readily made to fight a large-scale war, and yet they fought because they did not give up. They held on and George Washington arrived and together they managed to save a portion of what was left and many men. He states that General Howe of the British made a grave mistake and that he believes they can take advantage of this mistake and that the same can be said of General Washington. However, there is something that puts them at a further disadvantage to the British. That is the inclusion of Tories, those Americans that support the British, something England has not had to deal with. He says that now the time has arrived for either they, or them to change their stance but before they can do so, he addresses that Howe expects them to take up arms for him and he cares not of them. He used to feel the intense anger towards the Tories, but he has since changed his stance believing that they too suffer from this war.Paine reiterates that America did not want it to come to war, however because it has come to that, they must properly conduct war. He says that this in hindsight was naive, that because they tried to solve things peacefully they have again put themselves at a disadvantage.
Now, should they fail here at Delaware they are ruined and should they succeed then both sides will send in reinforcements. He considers Howe the greatest threat to the Tories. Paine states that some barriers can not be overcome by speaking and such is their predicament with the Tories. He says that it is not their fault because they comfort themselves with the idea that if the British should win, they shall be a humble winner and merciful ruler. He says that this is just a military tactic by Howe and nothing more than trickery, that Howe wishes to both terrify and allure the people of America. He tries to encourage them to be brave even when it seems like Howe will be the only one able to protect them should they fail to win here.
He ends his speech saying that he knows the situation and still sees no cause for fear. He offers solace to his comrades telling them he can see the way out. He says that he is certain because Howe did not risk battle at the bridge that they can make a comeback. He says that it took them nearly three weeks to retreat, and still the British did not meet them when they marched back twice. This courage among his fellow men, along with perseverance will allow them to win.