“Drastic change, under certain conditions, creates a proclivity for fanatical attitudes, united action, and spectacular manifestations of flouting and defiance; it creates an atmosphere of revolution”, wrote Eric Hoffer in The Ordeal of Change. Hoffer continues, “we are usually told that revolutions are set in motion to realize radical changes. Actually, it is drastic change which sets the stage for revolution. The revolutionary mood and temper are generated by the irritations, difficulties, hungers, and frustrations inherent in the realization of drastic change.” Whether we like it or not, our country is in the latter stages of this drastic change as an atmosphere of revolution has been deliberately forced upon us just as it was in 1773.
Benjamin Franklin described this atmosphere in his satirical essay Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One. Franklin wrote this essay with the assumption that the minister to whom his twenty rules are addressed wishes to reduce the extensive dominions that he must govern. Written two years before the American Revolution, Franklin presents these “rules” for dismantling an empire by enraging the colonists till they are driven to revolt. This essay represents the grievances espoused by the colonists towards the king and the British government.Franklin articulated the conditions necessary to create drastic change, which if followed, would result in an atmosphere of revolution.