Franklin, Paine and the Age of Enlightenment
From the end of the 1700s and through the early 1800s, America was beginning to see a change in civilization. People were moving from Puritan thoughts and ways towards a new way of a less superstitious, more scientific and intellectual interchange. This movement called the Age of Enlightenment influenced the styles and writings of those like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine.
The Age of Enlightenment was a period of questioning and appliance of reasoning to explore many subjects, such as civil rights, often left untouched. People were leaving behind their Puritan pasts and advocating the use of scientific method instead of superstitious beliefs of religion. The Enlightenment takes its name from those who wanted to contribute to a brighter future and society.
According to Henry Clark, “Paine's importance rests on the fact that he was an idealist, a man who envisaged a happier way of life for all men in the future, who thought in the light of first principles such as the equality and sacredness of all souls before God, and who, since he believed that in the past the life of the common people had been miserable, demanded a sharp break with the past, with tradition” (Clark).He wrote “Common Sense” even though he was acting in treason because he held firm to his beliefs that America should be independent.. He uses many techniques while writing, one being the overall patriotic and simple tone. Staying away from Latin phrases or philosophical arguments, Paine wrote "Common Sense" in simple terms, referring to the Bible and making the overall tone similar to that of a sermon. For example, he writes, “In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments and common sense” (Paine 335). He wanted to make sure that all Americans could understand the idea of independence, and that independence from England could be achieved. Paine also uses a number of aphorisms to introduce his argument. By doing...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document