An Analysis of Common Sense Essay

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As the year 1776 began in the American colonies, tension with King George III’s England was at perhaps an all-time high. Americans were frustrated with the actions of their rulers overseas. Taxes and trade restrictions had been placed on them, and British and mercenary soldiers occupied their towns and cities. There had even been fighting at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill. As America grew, England’s hold on it tightened, and a few voices began speaking of independence. The loudest and most convincing of these belonged to Thomas Paine, born in England and living in Philadelphia. His pamphlet, Common Sense, expressed the argument for American independence in a way no one had before and had a great influence on the Declaration of…show more content…
It claims all monarchs are despots, cut off from their people and craving for absolute power. “Male and female are the distinctions of nature,” Paine wrote, “good and bad the distinctions of heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest . . . is worth enquiring into” (Paine 9). Government is a necessary evil, a “badge of lost innocence,” that tends to get in the way of civilized society. Modern civilizations should organize themselves into local, self-governing societies with only representational government, suggested Paine, not an all-powerful monarch. “Of more worth is one honest man to society, and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived” (Paine 17). Paine went on to speak in more conventional terms about the specific nature of the conflict. He had anticipated that readers would be startled by his conclusions, and defended against possible objections. Uncertainty in the British Empire, some caused by disturbances in America, was bad for commerce. England would continue to drag Americans into European wars that were not their affair, said Paine, and protect them only when beneficial to themselves. Americans would not require their protection; they already had the means to defend their land. Distance and poor communication across the Atlantic made the centers of government remote from the colonists. Common Sense stressed the need for and the power of unity among the American

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