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Essay/Term paper: Daniel webster

Essay, term paper, research paper:  College Papers

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By:Stephen Vincent Benet

The Devil and Daniel Webster, written in 1937, is the story of a man
who sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for some good luck. The
man, Jabez Stone is a farmer living in New Hampshire, who has chronic
bad luck with his farm and his family. One morning he broke his plow
on a rock and that was the last straw. He said, "I vow, I vow it's
enough to make a man want to sell his soul to the Devil and I would,
too, for two cents!" Sure enough, the next day the Devil arrived at
his farm with an offer. Jabez Stone promises his soul to the Devil
after a period of seven years. In this time he cows became fat and his
horses sleek, and his crops were the envy of the neighborhood. Jabez
Stone became one of the most prosperous men in the country. There was
tlak of him running for State Senate and even Governor. The rest of
the Stone family became "as contented as cats in a dairy." Once a year
the Devil would return to check on Jabez Stone. On the day of his 6th
visit, it was time to discuss the contract. Jabez Stone managed to get
it extended for a perios of three more years. The next four years were
the fastest of Jabez Stone's life. In the final months before his
contract expired again, Stone sought out the most powerful man around,
a lawyer name Daniel Webster. Webster's cases were usually fought in
the Supreme Court, but since Jabez Stone was an old nieghbor, Webster
had a soft spot in his heart and agreed to take the case against the
Devil. The Devil selected an impossible jury, and Webster thought that
all hope was lost. In the end, Webster was able to convince the jury
that they were all human just like Jabez Stone, and therefore, the jury
ruled in favor of Jabez Stone. The Devil was never allowed in New
Hampshire again.

The historical aspects of this story are scattered throughout. When
Jabez Stone approached Daniel Webster, he was busy working up speeches
to make against John C. Calhoun. When Webster accused the Devil of
being a foreigner his argument was: "When the first wrong was done to
the first Indian, I was there. when the first slaverput out for te
Congo, I stood on her deck." This shows the Devil/evils in the roots
of America. also many historical figures were on the jury: Walter
Butler, King Philip

 

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