Wischnewsky 1Louis WischnewskyDr. D.B. MageeEnglish 22120 March 2012                                           This New Ma...
Wischnewsky 2       Jeffersons tone is evident in his opening statements. He writes, “[some of the colonies]were not yet m...
Wischnewsky 3of the social order, essentially serfs who were impressed into naval warfare. Observe howJefferson brands the...
Wischnewsky 4previous example.       Alas, although it is removed from what became the “legal” document, Jeffersons length...
Wischnewsky 5social orders.
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The New Man v9


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I've made corrections Dr. Magee asked me to make. Couple of comma splices, run-ons, minor stuff. Mostly stylistic issues. Make no mistake - there were very few errors in this paper.

The big deal?

This paper will be used in the future as a model paper.

It was not meant to be a thoroughly supported essay. Instead, Dr. Magee wanted us to have a base essay upon which we could build. Basically all I should have to do to turn this into a thoroughly supported essay is to now add some outside source support.

I've already got that support lined up. I will have to change some things to make it fit. Sources for the subject of this essay are RAMPANT. If you really want to impress a professor in a Lit, History, or Poli-Sci class, I highly recommend you do what I did here - go against the grain.

There's some powerful counter-evidence to my thesis in this essay. As you will see in the paper that follows up to this one, I take that counter-evidence head on. In fact, that's the only reason the paper is not yet finished - I may be coming on too strongly against the opposing view.

I'll be talking to Dr. Magee tomorrow night to get his opinion. I have a feeling he's going to tell me to throw it all out there. I hope so because I take issue with some fairly established experts.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

But right now? This paper not only scored an A, it will be used as a sample of an ideal paper in the future.

This is the second time since late January a professor has sought to use my work as an example to other students.

To have a professor want your work as an example only once is rare. Twice?? Better yet, the two professors are from two different divisions!

That's not only strong writing and research - that's flexibility!

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The New Man v9

  1. 1. Wischnewsky 1Louis WischnewskyDr. D.B. MageeEnglish 22120 March 2012 This New Man Among the debates of the last fifty or so years there has been a consistent risk to thosesuggesting major social change and a new way of looking at societys structure.While having aview opposing gay marriage, for example, is mostly frowned upon today, that sentiment comesonly at a cost to countless individuals reputations, fortunes and lives. This is true of the pushtoward racial equality, as well. Indeed, perhaps more lives have been lost in pursuit of the latter.Unfortunately, it is also common to criticize those who start such movements for either not doing“enough” or for being hypocritical by not sacrificing all toward the ideal. Historically this isnothing new. A look at an excerpt titled “The Declaration of Independence” from TheAutobiography of Thomas Jefferson provides strong clues that at least one of the foundingfathers of the United States sought to look genuinely at the idea that all human beings are equal. Jefferson gives clues this new idea in several ways. First, one needs to consider the tonein his account.After independence there still existed a quasi-caste system in the new country, yetJefferson files grievances against England on behalf of the labor class. One of these crimes isparticularly atrocious. Furthermore, the ruling class in England should have been consideredabove the ruling class of the colonies, yet Jefferson sees his American yeomen and gentry asequals to the peers and nobility across the pond. Finally, he considers the slaves from Africa a“people,” placing them on the same level as the king himself, perhaps even higher. All of theseclues, taken into consideration with the norms of Jeffersons day, show a distinct pattern ofcovertly redefining mans relationship among other men.
  2. 2. Wischnewsky 2 Jeffersons tone is evident in his opening statements. He writes, “[some of the colonies]were not yet matured for falling from the parent stem” (340). Undoubtedly time had temperedJeffersons attitude toward the hesitation by some of his colleagues to join the separatistbandwagon. It is doubtful, however, that the men of his day would have been less offended atbeing considered “not yet matured,” or childish, than the brightest minds of America today. Thetone indicates dissatisfaction with the status quo. This is important to bear in mind because whatJefferson is proposing not only to his compatriots, his colleagues, his friends, but to the world inthe Declaration, is a damnation of the entire social order of the caste system – including theconcept of divine right. This renunciation is greatly overlooked and deemphasized when scholarsconsider him hypocritical for continuing to keep slaves himself. The man not only placed himselfat risk with England, but also placed himself at risk among his fellow mutineers. Had he freedhis slaves, it can only be doubtful that anyone in his day would have taken him seriously. Rather,in keeping his slaves he at least gives the impression that he is not condemning anyone forowning other people and that he is rational. Still, he does firmly plant in the minds of Americansa second-guessing of that “peculiar institution” by his mere tone, a tone conveyed in numerousinstances in the original penning of the Declaration. Yet the tone Jefferson takes in the document merely raises a red flag that he firmly doubtsthe current social structure of his day. Post-revolution, one of the greatest grievances the UnitedStates had against England (and France, as well) was that American merchant ships were beinghailed and boarded by the British navy. Even today this is not an unheard of practice (The U.S.Navy does this in the several oceans to combat piracy and drug trafficking.) However, what thecolonists found reprehensible was that this often resulted in American sailors being impressedinto British naval service. Jefferson pointing this out in the Declaration is compelling. It was notthe gentry being impressed into naval service; rather, it was the lowest, working-class members
  3. 3. Wischnewsky 3of the social order, essentially serfs who were impressed into naval warfare. Observe howJefferson brands these fellow colonists: “He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive onthe high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become executioners of their … brethren, tofall themselves by their hands” (344). The emphasis is added for two reasons. First, not a singleletter of the passage is suggested for editing by Jeffersons co-conspirators at the ContinentalCongress. Obviously no one had any reservations with the grievance. That is telling and points tothe second reason for the emphasis: the men that would sign the Declaration considered serfs –commoners, nothing more – their brothers, their equals. Impressively, that is not the boldest instance of Jefferson bringing men to an equalstation.When he directly addresses the British people, he writes, “Nor have we been wanting inattention to our British brethren” (345). Again, as a brother, Parliament (whom he is actuallyaddressing) is an equal, not a superior. The gravity of doing so has been lost over the years. Atbest, the wealthy members of the Continental Congress would have held the social rank ofgentry. They would not have been Peers or nobility, the ruling class.Whats more, thisassimilation comes shortly after several dauntless cases against the king. It is no wonder thatJeffersons colleagues saw need to bring such heated rhetoric down a notch in yet anotherinstance of proclaiming no one group of superior value. “[N]o one of which could warrant sostrange a pretension: that these were effected at the expense of our own blood and treasure,unassisted by the wealth or the strength of [a lazy, lucky system of birthright that is] GreatBritain,” (345) scolds Jefferson. Here, he slaps British high society, telling them that, were theyto toil for their own wealth instead of inheriting it, they would likely have nothing at all. On theflip side, when free men are not bound to the quasi-slavery that is Georgian-era Britain, men canexcel to greater heights than that of “old money.” Jefferson wanting to proclaim this view to theworld is telling of his vision and infers an egalitarian America. This is especially true given the
  4. 4. Wischnewsky 4previous example. Alas, although it is removed from what became the “legal” document, Jeffersons lengthyprotestation against the practice of slavery should be considered as much a part of the officialhistorical record as every other word of the Declaration: Jefferson argues, “He has waged waragainst human nature itself, violating the most sacred rights of life and liberty” (344). “Humannature,” he says! This is one of the most moving phrases in the Declaration.What else could betaken from those words? Black or white, European or African, Jefferson declares, all are people,human beings. As human beings, no one deserves to be enslaved, ripped from their homelandsand families, and degraded to something less than an animal. He considers the practice moresavage than anything cutthroats would do. Jefferson pens, “This piratical warfare, theopprobrium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain” (344),insinuating that of all people on earth, King George III should be at the very front of the call toend slavery. By highlighting “infidel” and “Christian,” Jefferson uses style to raise Africans,slaves, to a higher status of worthiness than the white, Christian king of Great Britain. Jefferson commanded the English language well, wisely using tone and style to move notonly his fellow Americans, but also the world into sympathizing his vision for a future of moregenuine equality. Overlooked too often in Jeffersons original penning, the peasant, the ruling,the enslaved, and even the divine classes were of equal importance and worth. “When, in thecourse of human events,” (342) people witness, firsthand, great struggles to change the socialstructure of the day, it is too easy to consider their own contributions of greater sacrifice than anyother. Posterity should be hesitant to harbor such views. Rather, as Jeffersons original penning ofthe Declaration of Independence shows, great weight should be given toward the socialconstraints in which each pioneer proposes a bold, new idea. Understanding those constraintsjust might remove hesitation from others to “mature and fall from the parent stem” of oppressive
  5. 5. Wischnewsky 5social orders.