Common Sense Quotes by Thomas Paine
10. Common Sense
The appendix to Common Sense first appeared in the second edition of the pamphlet, published on February 14, It is not considered part of the original work; rather than being part of his detailed argument for independence, the appendix lays out a few of Paine's arguments and responds to concerns of the day. The first of the appendix's two parts recaps many of the arguments Paine makes in Common Sense, although the style of writing is a bit more urgent.
Paine asserts that it is universally acknowledged that America will ultimately separate from Britain, and that the only issue about which anyone disagrees is when this separation will occur. Paine says the time is now, as America has a large number of able men ready to fight in battle. The colonies have the force and the will to break free. Paine also says that the cost of the war can only be justified if the result is complete freedom. It is not worth undertaking the present battle simply for the repeal of some tax laws. Paine says that America is well suited to raise a navy that can rival even the British.
His argument begins with more general, theoretical reflections about government and religion, then progresses onto the specifics of the colonial situation. Paine begins by distinguishing between government and society. Society, according to Paine, is everything constructive and good that people join together to accomplish. Government, on the other hand, is an institution whose sole purpose is to protect us from our own vices. Government has its origins in the evil of man and is therefore a necessary evil at best. Paine says that government's sole purpose is to protect life, liberty and property, and that a government should be judged solely on the basis of the extent to which it accomplishes this goal.
Summary. In Common Sense, Thomas Paine argues for American independence . His argument begins with more general, theoretical reflections about.
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Thomas Paine's Common Sense - 5 Minute History - Brief Summary
Paine sees government as inherently bad, and does not see government as divinely ordained or otherwise intrinsically valuable. According to Paine, governments can only be measured by their effectiveness, as measured by their ability to improve society without being tyrannical. Paine does not believe that anyone has a right to govern others, which means he thinks that the king should no longer rule the colonies. Paine's view of government makes the revolutionary movement much more palatable by rejecting the presumption that the king has some legitimate and preexisting authority over the colonies. He says the only question that really matters is whether the colonists' living conditions would be better if they governed themselves, rather than being governed by the Crown. In Paine's day, many people could not fathom the possibility of a group of colonies successfully taking on the world's strongest empire, but Paine tries to show that America's small size is not a disadvantage. To do this, Paine adopts a twofold strategy.
Paine begins the pamphlet Common Sense with general comments about government. He observes first that people have a tendency to confuse government with society. Drawing a sharp line, Paine argues that society is always something to strive for, whereas government is "a necessary evil. Paine says that if a country with a government is hampered by oppression, it is far worse than if such behavior were to occur on its own, since the people create and support the government, and are therefore financing their own poor condition. If all people acted morally, government would not be necessary, but since people are fallible, government is necessary to the protection of life and property. Government's fundamental purpose, therefore, is to provide security, and the success of a government is to be judged by the extent to which it fulfills this role. To understand the purpose of government, Paine considers a small number of people, placed in a small region of land, cut off from all humanity.