Paine, Thomas, 1737-1809. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense: The Call to Independence. Woodbury, N.Y.: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 1975. Print.
Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, Norfolk, on February 9, 1737. Paine was an immigrant to America in 1774 and was then a fighter in the American Revolution. When he wrote Common Sense in 1776, he made history by writing the first paper to support American independence and fight against England. He believed that the colonies no longer needed to be attached to England and that they needed to be able to freely trade with other companies. After he had written The American Crisis, his third pamphlet, he sailed back to Europe where he was later imprisoned. He wrote one final paper before his death in 1809. “Of the Origin and Design of Government in General,” is perhaps the most important section of Common Sense seeing as it talks about the importance of a good society and how we can run a country by being kind to one another.
In writing Common Sense, Thomas Paine is trying to convey to the people on how vital setting up a good society is when creating a new colony. This pamphlet was a groundbreaker, which is why Thomas was very careful in his choice of words here. He wanted to express his feeling to the public, while also giving them a fair chance to believe what they wanted to believe. He thought that the king should not have a role in the colonies choices and that they should be able to have a country of their own. Paine also thinks that if America steps up and becomes an independent country, many others will follow in these footsteps. Through this pamphlet, Paine wanted to show others how having a strong society built on the right beliefs could make this country great.
Thomas states in the first section of Common Sense, “Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil” (Paine, pge 2). He believed that the government put a cap on how advanced the people of this nation could be. Although Paine had many suggestions as to how to remedy the problem, his biggest push was to just have people be kind to one another. If people were just kind, there would be no need for rebuking, which means no need for the government. One example that Paine gave was the thought of a group of people on a secluded island. This group of people would learn to work together as a society, and would not need a monarchy ruling over them. This example was to combats England’s opinion that every country needs one ruler to govern all of the people. Though the colonists may have read what Paine was trying to convey, he now had to get his plan of a new society into action.
Throughout this pamphlet Paine has stated his views – anonymously – many times, it was up to the people now on what course of action they wanted to take. In his final thoughts, Thomas Paine had a sense of urgency to separate from the king and from England. He believed that if the colonies did not spit from England, they would not be able to stay together. In response to the king’s speech, (urging the colonies not to rebel) Paine combated by saying that the king’s speech did not scare the colonists but made ready for war. Though his opinion was unpopular at first, Thomas Paine had the courage to put himself out there and stand for a change. Paine was a very passionate man about the subject of society and government, and I believe our country is better for it. He pushed for the things he believed in – separating from England – and tried to show others that if you love each other and care for one another we can help the greater good.
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