Thomas Paine’s Common Sense
The pamphlet Common Sense by Thomas Paine with its commentary about government and its views of man helped shape the attitude of the colonist in the time of the revolutionary war. Paine begins by making the correlation that individuals have a predisposition to correlate government with the society as a whole. However, argues that society is something we are to strive to attain, in contrast to government which is "a necessary evil." Paine argues that Society encourages the prosperity of our desires, wherein government exists as a means only to keep man from itself and its own actions. Paine opines that a country hampered by an oppressive government, is far worse than if such behavior were to occur on its own. As it’s the people of the country which choose to create and support the government, and are therefore supporting their own poor conditions. Paine argues that should all people act in a moral and justly fashion then government would not be necessary. However, individuals are imperfect and thus, government is necessary for the protection of life and property. Therefore, government’s fundamental purpose is and should be to provide security, and the success of a government is dependent upon how it fulfills this role. Paine clearly defines this sentiment by the following representation:
“Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest…” Paine sets forth that if people in a society were to act and treat each other honorably, there would not exists a need for laws and thus, government in general. However, in order to account for and counter the inevitable imperfections of man in moral virtue, individuals of...
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