Thomas Paine the Known Philosopher
History 1112: World civilization since 1500
March 13, 2014
Thomas Paine was known as a philosopher and writer, but he was not associated with these careers until 1774 when Paine made his journey to America. During this time America and Britain were at odds with each other. Britain was forcing authority on America and creating a division between the two that could never be mended. It was this concern that sparked Paine’s interest and gave him a passion for the colonist‘s independence. Paine understood there were no grounds for the Colonies to continue their dependence on Britain. He began his stand with the publication of Common Sense, a political pamphlet. He wanted to be the voice for the common man and promote an urgent need for independence from Britain. Common Sense was a key element in increasing the focus on the rising revolution. The pamphlet placed blame on the British government for the distress of the colonies. Paine’s writing stated Britain was taking advantage of America through taxes and by using its corrupt power to keep the colonist in submission. It was this writing that became a stepping stone for the American Revolution and the changes that would soon follow. Thomas Paine's drastic thinking and legendary writings were what helped provoke the Colonies to fight for liberty and freedom. It was his writings that provided the inspiration necessary for many colonists to support the movement for independence from Britain. Paine had no idea that his writing of Common Sense would start such a revolt. In retrospect, he was simply trying to give the colonists a voice and wanted his own opinion to be heard. He knew what the people were experiencing and wanted to help further the cause. In response to Paine’s writing, Congress wrote its own document requesting independence from Britain. The British government rejected the Declaration of Independence, which ultimately led to the War for Independence. Even after the release of Common Sense, Paine continued to promote Colonial independence and encourage the patriots during the Revolutionary War with a series of similar pamphlets. There was a lot of pressure building up from Great Britain and the colonists were tired of the constant strain of trying to make ends meet. The British government had sought to secure its empire and more firmly assert dominion over its American colonies (Kaye, 15). There were numerous events leading up to the colonists deciding to finally declare their freedom from Great Britain. Among those events that the British placed on the colonies were numerous taxes, which the colonist saw as being unfair. British Parliament authorized a long running of taxes and regulations. Among those were the stamp tax and the tea tax. These among many regulations made the colonist upset with the British government. The colonists rebelled against these acts in many ways. Their defiance made each ensuing British initiative essentially unworkable (Kaye, 15). It was a constant cycle of impose a new tax, rebel and protest, and then Britain would repeal its decision. However it wasn’t just taxes and regulations that caused conflict. Despite the great wealth of some the merchants in the colonies they also struggled financially. Britain’s Navigation Acts restricted most of their commerce to the British Empire, and because of the lack of reliable information about market conditions overseas, individual cargoes often sold at a loss (Foner, 25). It was not until 1774 that Paine arrived in America. In a sense, Philadelphia at the time of Paine’s arrival stood poised between tradition and modernity… (Foner, 68). There were still a few of the colonist who were considered loyalist and were still holding on to their British ties. The loyalists believed it was in their best interest and truly thought it was right to stay true to the king after all he had done for them. They saw it in a way that the...
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