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Effectiveness of the Tory and Whig Arguments Prior to the American Revolution

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Introduction

Effectiveness of the Tory and Whig Arguments Prior to the American Revolution by Enoch Lam Churchill Secondary IB History SL BLK A Year One In the eighteenth century, the American Revolution played a vital role in determining the future of the American colonies. Prior to the Revolution, propagandas from both the Tories and Whigs influenced the choices that Americans make. Both sides exchanged attacks and accusations in their publications, while also presenting realistic evidence and logical reasoning to back their doctrine and arguments. Two of the many documents preceding the Revolution are especially interesting in terms of their structure of presentation. Letters of a Westchester Farmer, composed by Reverend Samuel Seabury, offers arguments favouring the Tories' view and questions the effects the Revolution will have on Americans. In response, Common Sense, written by Thomas Paine, presents the Whigs' view of the Revolution and provides strong valid reasons to answer most of the charges made by the Tories. Both Letters of a Westchester Farmer and Common Sense share similarities and differences in their structure and evidence that affect the degree of their effectiveness. ...read more.

Middle

Unlike the structure of the earlier document, Common Sense poses a question or an accusation from the Tories, and rebuts it with the Whigs doctrine and Paine's reasoning. The structure of this document is more effective in terms of impact. As in the earlier document, the reverend does not counter Whigs' view, but only express his opinions about them. Contrary, this document offers a scope of the Tories' point, and persuades the Americans that the Whigs' view is more logical by comparing the two sides. In short, Common Sense is more effective than the Letters of a Westchester Farmer in terms of structure, due to its more comprehensive reasoning behind the doctrines. Besides the structure, the validity and evidence of arguments presented in both Letters of a Westchester Farmer and Common Sense are also factors of their effectiveness. The Letters of a Westchester Farmer promotes reconciliation with the British, and states "The first distress will fall on ourselves: it will be more severely felt by us, than by any part of all his Majesty's dominions; and it will affect us the longest."4 To provide evidence of this statement, the reverend reasons with the superiority of British fleets, the new schemes of British merchants and the global influence of British trade. ...read more.

Conclusion

Letters of a Westchester Farmer and Common Sense are both effective documents that influenced the choices of Americans. Because the majority of the audience of these documents are colonists, the Tories' documents are less effective as it faces the biased Americans. Most Americans are already decided in which side to support, only weak Whigs would make sense out of the propaganda of the Tories. In addition, the approach of reasoning in Common Sense proves to be much more effective. It is like a transcript of a live debate between the two sides, with the Whigs winning on each issue. On the other hand, the Letters of a Westchester Farmer completely expressed the Tories' view, and made the Whigs and the Congress look evil, which was effective to those who was not sure which side to take on. Despite the differences in the degree of effectiveness that both documents have, they both are well-structured and planned documents that succeeded in persuading Americans to take sides with Whigs or Tories. 1 Samuel Seabury, "Letters of a Westchester Farmer", (1774-1775), p.26. 2 Ibid. 3 Thomas Paine, "Common Sense", p.38. 4 Samuel Seabury, "Letters of a Westchester Farmer", (1774-1775), pg.28. 5 Thomas Paine, loc. cit., p.39. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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