A Modern Evaluation Of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense

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Common Sense. By Thomas Paine. iBooks Public Domain Edition (1776; Salt Lake City: Project Gutenberg) Thomas Paine’s forty-eight page pamphlet provided a radical argument for American independence from the crown. His main goal was to convey that the colonies would receive no additional benefit if the association with England was not severed. He composed his pamphlet utilizing vernacular and simple ideas, targeting the common man. This was an unusual, yet appropriate, technique for the Enlightenment era. His pamphlet outlined the flaws and disadvantages of a monarchial government such as the government imposed on America by England. He also portrayed the advantages of severing all governmental ties with England. Paine discusses generic topics of an ideal and properly functioning government. One of the most important aspects of Common Sense is the generic plans for starting an independent republic society. One cannot deny the impact these points caused when combined. Paine commences with his pamphlet by describing government as a necessary being that is inherently evil. He describes government in such a way that nearly, but not entirely, advocates anarchy. Paine calls government, “even in its best state [a] necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one;” (6). He attempts to predispose the reader’s mind to new ideas of government, namely one that involves American independence from England. Paine accomplishes this through an ideal definition and concept of government. He describes the purposes of government such as protection of property and citizens. The means required to sustain a government is considered fair trade for the protection that it offers in return, “[man] finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish the means for the protection of the rest;” (7). While most do not wish to have or give up possessions in
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