Chapter 7 notes.pdf - 1 Congress drafts George washington 2...

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1. Congress drafts George washington Perhaps the most important single action of the Congress was to select George Washington to head the hastily improvised army besieging Boston The tall, dignified Virginia planter had never risen above the rank of a colonel in the militia and his largest command had numbered only 1200 men (20 years earlier) Although he lost more pitched battles than he won, the distinguished Virginian was gifted with outstanding powers of leadership and immense strength of character He radiated patience, courage, self-discipline, and a sense of justice; he was a great moral force rather than a great military mind—he insisted on serving without pay, though he kept a careful expense account amounting to more than $100,000 The Continental Congress, though dimly perceiving Washington’s qualities of leadership, chose more widely than it knew—his selection, in truth, was largely political Americans in other sections, already jealous, were beginning to distrust the large New England army being collected around Boston; prudence suggested a commander from Virginia, the largest and most populous of the colonies; as a man of wealth, both by inheritance and by marriage, Washington could not be accused of being a fortune seeker 2. Thomas paine preaches common sense Loyalty to the empire was deeply ingrained; many Americans continued to consider themselves part of a transatlantic community in which the mother country of Britain played a leading role; colonial unity was poor; and open rebellion was dangerous Irish rebels of that day were customarily hanged, drawn, and quartered; American rebels might have fared no better—as late as January 1776, five months before independence was declared, the king’s health was being toasted by officers Gradually the Americans were shocked into an awareness of their inconsistency; their eyes were jolted open by harsh British acts like the burning of Falmouth and Norfolk, and especially by the hiring of the Hessians to help fight against the Americans In 1776 came the publication of Common Sense , one of the most influential pamphlets ever written; its author was the radical Thomas Paine who had come over from Britain Paine flatly branded the actions of the colonists as contrary to “common sense”; why not throw off the cloak of inconsistency—no where in the physical universe did the smaller heavenly body control the larger one—then why should the island of Britain control the vast continent of America? (King was nothing by the Royal Brute of Great Britain) 3. Paine and the idea of “Republicanism” Paine’s passionate protest was as compelling as it was eloquent and radical
It called not simply for independence, but for the creation of a new kind of political society, a republic, where power flowed from the people themselves, not from a corrupt and despotic monarch (he used language familiar to common folk) He argued that all government officials—governors, senators, and judges—not just representative sin a house of commons, should derive

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