Thomas Paine 's Common Sense

Decent Essays

Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, on the surface, is a call for the dissolution of British monarchial hold on American society. Upon closer inspection of his rhetoric, historical references, and his concept of independence, his audience witnesses more than just an incitement to revolution. Paine is redeveloping the American concept of rights and, thus, redefining its roots. By eliminating British ties in this pamphlet, he creates a “rights foundation” that relies on discourse and national institutions. Common Sense opens with a statement asserting the purpose of government which is to exist in opposition to society’s tendency to fall to corruption through the vices of individuals. Whereas society gives into pleasures, government acts as a set of regulations to ensure the well-being of all (Paine 74). This government, which comes from the people and serves the people, must fill the role that “moral virtue” cannot. According to Paine, this is precisely where England’s constitution proves to be lacking. The English constitution depends on the moral proclivity of one individual, and this leaves the well-being of inhabitants in jeopardy. Paine abhors the concept or belief in moral authority flowing down from and passing down from a king and his progeny (Paine 84). Contesting the established American governmental dependence on the British, Thomas Paine exclaimed that the rights of man cannot be allowed to be dependent upon the mercy of a king, a single man. Therefore, where does the

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