"The American Crisis" by Thomas Paine - "These are the times that try men’s souls" - Broadside printed in Boston
The American Crisis, Number 1, was written by Thomas Paine in 1776 and it opens with these stirring words:
"These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
This broadside was published in Boston in 1776. (An original appears in the Library of Congress and is shown below and online here.)
Hand printed at the Printing Office of Edes & Gill located in the Clough House (c 1715) on the grounds of the Old North Church Historic Site in Boston.
Paper size: 11.25" x 17.5"
Print area: 8.75" X 14"
From The Writings of Thomas Paine, Volume I, collected and edited by Moncure Daniel Conway, 1774 - 1779:
"THOMAS PAINE, in his Will, speaks of this work as The American Crisis, remembering perhaps that a number of political pamphlets had appeared in London, 1775-1776, under general title of The Crisis. . . . His work consists of thirteen numbers, and, in addition to these, a Crisis Extraordinary and a Supernumerary Crisis. In some modern collections all of these have been serially numbered, and a brief newspaper article added, making sixteen numbers. But Paine, in his Will, speaks of the number as thirteen, wishing perhaps, in his characteristic way, to adhere to the number of the American Colonies, as he did in the thirteen ribs of his iron bridge. . . .
The first Crisis was printed in the Pennsylvania Journal, December 19, 1776, and opens with the famous sentence, "These are the times that try men's souls"; the last Crisis appeared April 19,1783, (eighth anniversary of the first gun of the war, at Lexington,) and opens with the words, "The times that tried men's souls are over." The great effect produced by Paine's successive publications has been attested by Washington and Franklin, by every leader of the American Revolution, by resolutions of Congress, and by every contemporary historian of the events amid which they were written. The first Crisis is of especial historical interest. It was written during the retreat of Washington across the Delaware, and by order of the Commander was read to groups of his dispirited and suffering soldiers. Its opening sentence was adopted as the watchword of the movement on Trenton, a few days after its publication, and is believed to have inspired much of the courage which won that victory, which, though not imposing in extent, was of great moral effect on Washington's little army."