Discussion Post Reply

Discussion Post Reply

Unit 3 Discussion:
The Debate Over Independence

One of the key roles of a historian is to understand the differing perspectives of the past. Just like people today have differing political opinions, so too did people in the past. While we may not always agree with a particularly perspective, it is still important to understand all points of view.

This discussion will focus on the debate over independence in 1776. You will read two very different perspectives on whether or not Americans should declare their independence from Great Britain. While Thomas Paine supported American independence from Britain and explained these reasons in his famous document Common Sense, Charles Inglis insisted that Americans should remain loyal to Britain in the hopes of preventing further bloodshed. The goal of this assignment is to read both perspectives and understand the main arguments offered by each in favor of or against independence.


Thomas Paine – Common Sense
Charles Inglis Against Independence


There are two parts to this assignment: an initial posting and a response. You are required to read both of the above documents, take notes, and then present your findings to the class. Here is how it will work:

1. INITIAL POSTING: Your initial posting will attempt to convince the American colonies that independence is necessary. You will read the document by Thomas Paine, then use his arguments to present a compelling case for independence. Your posting should convey all of the main themes conveyed by Paine, as well as include examples from the reading to illustrate your main points. You can be as creative as you’d like with your initial posting. Here are a few ideas:

-create a PowerPoint, Prezi, or other type of presentation software (after all, didn’t they have computers in 1776?)
-create a video where you give a speech to the Continental Congress (I’m sure they all had iPhones as well)
-create a pamphlet (just like Common Sense) or newspaper article where you discuss your main points (Word and Publisher work well for this format)

These are just a few ideas of how you can be creative in presenting your information. If you have other creative ideas not listed, please check with me to get approval. If you aren’t feeling creative, write a post in the traditional format that discusses the various themes of Paine’s reading.

2. RESPONSE: Your response is based on document by Charles Inglis. You will read the document, then note at least three reasons why Americans SHOULD NOT declare independence. You will then respond to one of the Thomas Paine postings and explain why Americans should remain loyal to Great Britain, offering at least three reasons that you found in the reading by Charles Inglis. Your response should be a minimum of one substantive paragraph (a substantive paragraph is far more than 1-2 sentences). Feel free to write in character as if you were living in 1776.

The goal for this assignment is to comprehensively discuss the main points made by Paine and Inglis in their writings. You are graded on how effectively and comprehensively you cover the themes in both readings. Make sure that you include key points from each reading, and use examples to illustrate your points. Since you are only using these readings (and no outside sources), you only need to cite your work if you use a direct quote.

This is the post to respond to:

The role of parents is a noble job. They must raise their children so that they can free themselves from the arm’s length relationship by supporting themselves. To support oneself does not mean to be totally detached from one’s family. This is the original relationship between Great Britain (parent) and the American colonies (children). These colonies are a kind of siblings that must be able to assume themselves by creating different relations (commercial, diplomatic, etc.) between themselves but also with their parents (the British) and others (kingdoms or countries). Unfortunately, the British, seeing the growing prosperity of its children, does not wish to leave them free of their destiny and wishes to control their existence and wealth because they protected them from external dangers arising from the appetite of power of other European parents such as France or Spain. For instance, the Seven Years’ War was an example of the protection provided by Great Britain in order to give a safe environment to pursuit the colonies’ prosperity. But, the children feel oppressed and eager to escape this yoke, unify to gain their independence, thus the right to self-administer. The irony of fate is that the reason why the colonies want to have control of their own destiny, to be free to trade with whom they want is the same reason that is at the origin of the construction of the European Union. As Paine says it, “Europe is too thickly planted with Kingdoms to be long at peace” only trade relations between equals and respect for people guarantee peace.

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