Thomas Paine, Common Sense
Common sense is greatly credited with encouraging the colonists to finally establish themselves independently from Britain as Thomas Paine attacked the principles of hereditary rule and monarchial government. He believed that society is constructive in that people join together to accomplish common goals and the government’s role is to protect the citizens from their own vices, thus being a necessary evil.
In the first passage of the article, Paine criticizes the monarchy and the monopoly on power they pretend is balanced, but in actuality is not. He claims that the distinction between kings and a normal citizen is unusual and that Britain abuses this power to establish an inequality in society. He doesn’t believe that one’s birth gives them any natural right to rule or govern a society. By keeping this lineage of rulers going, they encourage corruption and civil war because it’s a pattern that the citizens cannot change since it’s forced upon them. This is the first reason Paine believes the colonists should break away from the English. Another reason they should become independent is because plainly, they just don’t have to rely on British aid any more. By taxing the colonists without true representation, Britain has never really protected America and is undeserving of their loyalty, because her loyalty was based on “interest, not attachment”. He compares the flourishing of America under British rule to that of a child flourishing from milk when young, and that America would have flourished more if not restricted from the tedious taxations and laws. Commerce was restricted from the rest of Europe while under Britain control, and by gaining independence they would secure “peace and friendship of all of Europe” since American’s will then have a free port, unregulated from the Navigation Acts and will no longer be viewed as a rebel.
Paine argues that there is nothing left to gain from Britain and that the quicker they seek...
References: Foner, E. (2004). Voices of freedom: A documentary history. New York: W.W. Norton.
Foner, E. (2012). Give me liberty!: An American history. New York: W.W. Norton.
Thomas Paine (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/commonsense/summary.html
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