Common Sense Essay

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Alannah Y.
History 131
March 18, 2013
Common Sense Essay
Many Americans today have a meager common memory of the American Revolution and Thomas Paine’s contribution to the success of American Independence. Most Americans believe that almost all colonists in the 18th century were committed to seeking freedom from British Rule, but that is far from truth. Many inhabitants were ill informed, and even fearful, of the benefits that independence would provide for the continental nation. Thomas Paine was passionate about independence and through his morals and principles he created Common Sense to reshape the philosophy of the colonists and to define a new American identity. Although many patriots had found Common Sense disturbing and democratic, it was more of a substantial political pamphlet, because the historical events that had influenced Paine to develop the propaganda revealed the idea of equality and biblical authority, the truth of reconciliation, and Americas military potential. Thomas Paine wanted to “offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense”. The Battle of Lexington and Concord was one of many events that encouraged Paine to write Common Sense, because the positive declaration that the battle had displayed. An excerpt from Out of Many, by John Mack Faragher, on the Battle of Lexington and Concord elucidates that the battle marked the beginning of the American Revolution. The patriots sacrificed their lives to make clear to the British that they will commit themselves to fight for their rights. The Battle of Concord was the first time that the British had ever retreated and this in turn gave the colonists hope and courage to defend their society from further British control. Thomas Paine concluded that the battle had opened the opportunity for colonists to fight for rights, but independence was not yet acknowledged. Paine thought if they had the audacity to stand against the British then it should be aimed at pursuing political independence from Great Britain. According to Paine, “By referring the matter from argument to arms, a new aera for politics is struck; a new method of thinking hath arisen. All plans, proposals, &c. prior to the nineteenth of April, i.e. to the commencement of hostilities, are like the almanacs of the last year…whatever was advanced by the advocates on either side of the question then, terminated in one and the same point, viz. a union with Great-Britain; the only difference between the parties was the method of effecting it….” Here Paine explains that the battle had given the colonists a new view of the British and steered them towards the option of separating from the mother country. Thomas Paine’s equality and biblical authority arguments were influenced by the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Paine, a radical reformer, knew the arguments of the Bible very well despite his European background. Paine argues that mankind had always been equal until, “the Jews under a national delusion requested a king…[to be like] other nations…[and to have] a king to judge [them]....” Monarchy, according to Paine, is a sin and that having America ruled by an island is irrational. In Common Sense he goes on to say that hereditary succession goes against equality, “one of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary rights in kings, is, that nature disproves it, otherwise she would not so frequently turn into ridicule by giving mankind an ass for a lion.” He also states that men who reign “are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.” Under the reign of a king it is very hard to perceive true independence and how damaging monarchy is for the natural rights of people and their property. Many colonists in the 18th century had very little knowledge of the misfortunes that monarchy can offer, “the most barefaced falsity imposed upon mankind…[is that] hereditary succession…preserves a nation from civil wars…[but] thirty kings and two...
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