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Thomas Paine's Common Sense Essay

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Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"



Thomas Paine is responsible for some of the most influential pamphlets about the colonial situation in the 1700’s. He found himself in the right position and time to make his opinions known through his writing. He was a journalist in Philadelphia when the American relationship with England was thinning and change was on the horizon. Paine became famous at this time for writing Common Sense, as well as his sixteen Crisis papers. Through his particular style of reasoning and vehemence, Paine’s Common Sense became crucial in turning American opinion against Britain and was instrumental in the colonies' decision to engage in a battle for complete independence.

Part of the effectiveness of Paine’s Common Sense was his “plainness.” He wanted everyone, laymen and lawmakers alike, to be able to read and comprehend what he was saying. He did not feel he needed overly flowery speech, in fact, that would not serve his purpose. His desire to stir up the people would not be met if he wrote in a style that took too much in-depth analysis for the common person to understand. Paine said he wanted to write “so as to bring out a clear conclusion that shall hit the point in question and nothing else.”

At the start, Paine explains that in the essay to come he is offering the reader nothing but “simple facts, plain arguments,” and of course, “common sense.” He says he asks the reader for nothing more than to read on without prejudice and let their feelings decide for themselves. However calmly Paine approaches the beginning of his work, though, later he will certainly show himself to be quite passionate. He begins his argument with more general, theoretical reflections about government and religion, and then ...


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...e of husband, father, friend, lover, and whatever may be your rank or title in life, you have the heart of a coward, and the spirit of a sycophant!”

Paine holds that what he is saying is neither inflaming matters or exaggerating them. He continues to use strong words to maintain his point, declaring a government of their own is their natural right, and threatening those that would disagree with him saying they “are opening a door to eternal tyranny by keeping vacant the seat of government.” Once again revisiting his points he says that the “last cord is now broken,” between England and the colonies. With his particular style of plain fact coupled with expressive, passionate language, Paine wrote one of the most important documents to the American Revolution. His final call to action begs all lovers of mankind and those that dare to oppose tyranny to stand forth.


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