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Life is littered with a variety of obstacles that present a challenge to daily life. Thomas Paine once said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” The quote can be understood as, the bigger the obstacle one overcomes, the more satisfied and accomplished one will feel after overcoming it, because of the strength and effort necessary to overcome the roadblock. I believe Paine’s argument to be true, seeing it proved in literature like “The General History of Virginia”, in history, during the Revolutionary War, and in my own experience taking my first AP test.
Early British colonists that made landfall in the U.S. faced a series of unimaginable hardships. Settlers like John Smith were some of the first Europeans to explore the vastly uninhabited land, they were unprepared for the hardships that lied ahead. John Smith and his settling group were not aware of how long the journey across the pond would take, and this presented various challenges for them, “we were at sea five months where we both spend our victual and lost the opportunity of time and season to plant.” (Smith, PG 14) Missing the planting season would present a multitude of challenges for the settlers, most importantly was the lack of food. The colonists would have to rely on their problem solving and unity to be able to survive with the shortage of food. The colonists intelligently turned to the natives for help (of course after a minor conflict) forming a bond with the natives. The natives lived off of the land and had an abundance of food and grain, and they weren’t reluctant to share, “ Pocahontas with her attendants brought him so much provision that saved many of their lives.” (Smith, PG 17) The colonists forged alliances necessary to aid in their survival during a harvest less season. Through this, the colonists were able to survive the unthinkable, prevailing through the adversity. The magnitude of the challenge that they faced makes the victory that much more enjoyable. Being able to come back from being close to losing it all to a position of strength and stability makes the colonists triumph that much more satisfying.
The British crown oppressed the American colonists, forcing their administrative power upon them in taxation and colonial oversight. Patrick Henry, spoke before the Virginia Convention in an attempt to rally support to push back against the British. Henry cites the hardships that the colonists have had to endure in his speech, “ we have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne; and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and parliament.” (Henry, Pg 37) The British levied taxes and royal decrees upon the colonists from across the Atlantic for the benefit of the crown and the citizens of the British mainland, this upset the colonists because they were being ruled by leaders who did not even inhabit the US mainland. This united the colonists against a common enemy, but there was a huge obstacle that lie before them, they were simply outnumbered. The colonists were extremely united, most were bound together by a common cause, assuring their independence from the tyrannical rule of the
British crown who had ruled over them for so long. Henry echoed the beliefs of many Americans at the time, he said in his famous speech before the Virginia Convention, “give me liberty or give me death!” (Henry, pg 16) Despite the immense difference in the military capabilities of Britain and the colonies, the colonists were able to prevail, liberating themselves from the hands of the British. The colonists had a huge challenge in the Revolutionary war, but they prevailed despite the adversity, and it is this victory, overcoming this huge roadblock that makes the win so special. A hard fought victory makes it that much more enjoyable because you are throwing everything you have into the battle.
School can often times present students with various difficult challenges that push them to their limits, but overcoming these barriers can reap huge sensations of satisfaction. When I got pushed to my limit was when I took AP European History, preparing for the AP test was a huge challenge. A whole year’s worth of content would have to be fresh in my mind for the test date, I thought it would be impossible. I studied for weeks, spending hours on content review and practice tests. The test day came and went, and when I received my test score I found out that I passed! This immense challenge was difficult, but because of how much effort I invested into it, the victory was so much sweeter. All my hard work was reflected in my score, Paine’s quote of “the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph” stands true.
Hard fought battles present you with the greatest sense of accomplishment. Enduring life’s most difficult conflicts may seem extremely difficult at times, but overcoming the difficulty increases the sense of accomplishment. In The General History of Virginia, the Revolutionary War, and my personal AP test experience, huge challenges are presented before the protagonists, but they tough it out and make it through the hurdles, and this victory is much more memorable and noteworthy because of the challenges we had to overcome.
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