Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Liberal Arts (M.L.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Major Professor

Benjamin Goldberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brook Sadler, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brendan Cook, Ph.D.


American revolutionary war, John Locke, liberty, patriotic songs, Thomas Paine


This thesis analyzes American literature dedicated to the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) and the events which led to it. The overarching goal of the analysis is to lay out a coherent account of the concept of freedom in American literature of that time period. To reach this goal I will use The Second Treatise of Government by John Locke as a main philosophical text, which outlines the key elements of political freedom. As the main literature pieces of the selected time period, Common Sense by Thomas Paine and The Liberty Song were chosen. I will also use multiple songs by various authors where different aspects of the issue are being touched upon. The research shows that different parts of this thesis were covered separately by numerous authors. This thesis attempts to establish the connection between major philosophical, political and fictional texts in order to understand the general mood of the American people at the dawn of the nation. The people of the United States of America are being divided right now over major political, social and economic issues. That is why it is so important to look back at the beginning to try and see what united these people in the first place, on which principles people stood, on which they chose to live by, and for which they were ready to die.