Thomas Paine and Common Sense

analytical Essay
1085 words
1085 words

Thomas Paine and Common Sense In early 1776 the sentiment surrounding the idea of revolution was evenly divided in Britain's colonies in America. The feelings were split evenly between those for a revolt, those opposing it and those who were neutral. In January 1776 Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense. The ideas and theories expressed in the pamphlet were very compelling and thorough. Compelling enough to sway much of the undecided colonists to agree that revolt is the necessary course of action. Paine states in the introduction to Common Sense "a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at fist a formidable outcry in defense of custom." This argument is not one of listing injustices or even reasons for revolt but it does provoke the reader to decide if his thoughts are genuine or from not thinking critically about the times and situations. Now that we my "suffer ourselves to examine the component parts of the English Constitution," the faults shall be found. Paine argues one theoretical position that could influence those loyal to the King himself. If the British constitution is a system of checks and balances and the commons are the check on the king then this infers, "That the king is not to be trusted." This brings to light an underlying fault with the way the British system of government is arranged. Paine is against a divided form of government. He feels that simpler government is best. That way the people know whom to hold responsible. He also feels the king did not get better with the creation of a chambered government only subtle. He later states that the system, "hath all the distinctions of an house divided against itself." He then again makes the argument that the loyalists have not opened their eyes to the faults of the British form of government. Paine says that those in favor of the current form of government feel that way "more from national pride than reason." Paine contends that there is no reason to feel loyalty to Britain. He feels that all the actions of Britain are in its self-interest. He feels the colonies would not need defending if Britain would not bring its enemies to the colonies. There would not have been a French and Indian war because the colonies would not be enemies of the French.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how paine's ideas and theories were compelling enough to sway many undecided colonists to agree that revolt is necessary.
  • Analyzes how paine argues that the british constitution is a system of checks and balances and the commons are the check on the king.
  • Analyzes how paine believes that the british protect their colonies is the same as a sheep's sheep. the british only cares about their north american colonies because they supply raw materials.
  • Analyzes how paine concludes common sense by contending that the colonies have an opportunity to make a government the correct way.
  • Analyzes jefferson's arguments for the colonists' right to rebel in the declaration of independence, including the theories of consent, natural rights, and self-evident truths.
  • Explains that jefferson's pursuit of happiness was not a subjective term. amartya sen argued that true happiness is when the capacities of people are realized.
  • Explains jefferson's statement that "governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes." the "long train of abuses and usurpations" committed by the british government were reason enough to rebel.
  • Opines that the cost of violating the natural rights of man and the pursuit of happiness is the consent of the governed.
  • Explains jonathan boucher's theological argument that christians must obey the constitutions of every nation in which they live.
  • Explains that many believed that britain had a fair government because different social classes were represented. the british constitution was the greatest contract of government in the world.
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