In light of our nation's current divisions, and in honor of Thomas Paine's birthday on Jan. 29, let us revisit the great man's extraordinary rhetoric. "These are the times that try men's souls," Paine famously wrote. "The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."
Those words are from the first of more than a dozen articles in Paine's "Crisis" series, published between 1776 and 1783, each addressing the American Revolution's changing tide.
When that first one was published in December 1776, America was at war, its existence was on the line, and yet the vision of a united republic was beginning to fade.