The Debate over Independence

As you now know, one of the key roles of a historian is to understand the differing perspectives of the past. 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 in his document The True Interest of America Impartially Stated 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 and against independence.

Assigned Readings
Primary Source: Thomas Paine Common Sense
Primary Source: Charles Inglis The True Interest of America Impartially Stated

Focus Questions
Discuss the following questions in your posting for both documents:

1. Common Sense: Why are American justified in declaring independence from Great Britain? What are the benefits of declaring independence?

2. The True Interest of America Impartially Stated: What will happen if Americans declare their independence? What are the benefits of remaining a part of the British Empire?

1. POSTING: Create a PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Prezi that answers the above focus questions. In your posting, be sure to include examples from the documents to illustrate the points you are trying to make. This could include a quote or two (but not too many) that highlight a key point or theme. Your posting should be a minimum of 6 slides:
-3 slides (minimum) analyzing the Paine’s Common Sense document
-3 slides (minimum) analyzing Inglis’s The True Interest of America Impartially Stated document

Be sure that both focus questions for each document are addressed in your slides. Your answer should reflect the major points from each reading, and you should include examples from the documents to illustrate your main points. Remember, effort is the key here: don’t just type a couple of words on each slide. Make sure you write in complete sentences and fully explain the various points you make. If you use any quotes, be sure to include the page number from the document. Creativity is always appreciated and effort is expected! Be sure that you comprehensively discuss ALL of the key points made in both readings (you should see that both sources are emphasizing several important themes in support of their perspectives).

2. RESPONSE: Once you have posted your submission, read ALL postings by other students (remember, this is mandatory). You will then respond to a minimum of one posting by another student. In your response, answer the following question: Based on what you have read in the textbook and the assigned documents, would you have supported independence? Or would you have attempted to remain loyal to Great Britain? Be sure that you connect your thoughts to what you have learned in the textbook and documents that relate to this topic (it is always important to back up your position with evidence from the readings). Remember, writing a 1-sentence response is never enough (your response should be a minimum of 6-7 sentences in length). Your response posting should reflect thoughtful analysis and be supported by key points and terms you have learned about in the class. For example, if you would have supported independence, provide specific reasons (that you learned from the readings) why you would support independence.