Thomas Paine And The Declaration Of Independence Essay

Thomas Paine And The Declaration Of Independence Essay

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In the year 1776, an English-born American writer by the name of Thomas Paine published one of the most critical documents to American independence prior to the Declaration of Independence itself. His paper, Common Sense, called for the immediate break away of the colonies from England and the formation of a republican government, superior to the former monarchy. Though the sheer number of copies sold can speak for the impact of Paine’s work, proper insight requires us to look into the arguments that were presented. There was undoubtedly opposition from the remaining Loyalists, so how did Common Sense so totally eclipse the counterarguments? What caused this single document to inspire such a revolutionary spirit in so many colonists across America? Put simply, Paine went through great lengths to ensure his victory. By preemptively presenting his opponent’s points and discrediting them, Paine leaves the Loyalists very little to work with. Paine demonstrates an understanding of the way his audience thinks, confronting both the sceptic and the prideful in his broad range of arguments. Common Sense becomes an effectively persuasive work due to Paine’s addressing commonly heard Loyalist opinions, appealing to man’s sense of dignity, and referring to historical evidence of the necessity of a new government.
Paine’s first order of business was to shut down the Loyalist arguments for remaining a colony of Great Britain. He opens by stating that reconciliation was no longer possible since April 19th of 1775, when American blood was spilt during the Battle of Lexington, and that all Loyalist ideas of remaining dependent are agreeable dreams. However, in proper Paine fashion, he continues on to discuss what to expect if America were to sta...


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... two were never meant to have such a strong rule over one another. However, the Christian belief is somewhat violated in Paine’s claim that a good man would not seek reconciliation with another, regardless of the trespasses done against them. In fact, records show that the main tactic Loyalists used to stigmatise Common Sense was by asserting that Paine was a deist rather than a Puritan, and not understanding of God’s desires. This is an argument which is not refuted by Paine in his work, as Common Sense focused on the independence from Great Britain, not Paine’s personal life or religious beliefs. In this case, that particular rebuttal had little overall effect on non-Loyalists and Patriots, who were perhaps more concerned with the logical and persuasive points of the writing than the man writing it. Either way, his audience remains captivated, and Paine ventures on.

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