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The American Crisis Primary Source Questions

Thomas Paine, 1776-1783

Read The American Crisis in its entirety here.


  1. What is Paine implying when he refers to some soldiers as “summer soldiers” and “sunshine patriots”?
  2. What is the main right that Paine argues they must continue to fight for?
  3. Do you think this essay was written towards the beginning of the war or the end? Why do you think so?
  4. Does Paine argue that the Patriots should have waited to declare war or that they should have declared it sooner?
  5. What reaction was Paine hoping to spark in his audience?
  6. Paine says he could not be convinced to start an offensive war. What reason then does he give for justifying the Patriots’ involvement in their current war?
  7. What does Paine ask of his fellow Patriots to end his essay?
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