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Scholars Day 2008, Wednesday, April 9

The Broad Appeal of Paine and the Elitism of John Adams

Within "The Board Appeal of Paine and the Elitism of Adams: A Comparison of Writing Styles, Prospective Audiences and Impact," Collier argues that Thomas Paineís writings likely would have appealed considerably more to the average colonist than the writings of John Adams probably would have. However, the writings of both authors had significance in Revolutionary Era America and beyond. Analysis of several examples of Adamsí Revolutionary Era writings and of Paineís Common Sense exhibit contrast between the content, context, and reception of the two menís works. The analysis is followed by a comparison of the two men biographically as it impacted their works and their writing styles, including use of the passive voice, average sentence length, and diction. The comparison of the authors and their writings styles provide strong evidence that the broad colonial audience would have found Paineís writings more compelling while only the elite audiences could have truly appreciated the writings of Adams.

Presenter: Krysten Collier (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: History
Location: 217 Hartwell
Time: 3 pm (Session IV)