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Thomas Paine's 'Common Sense' - Essay Example

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He systematically goes through each argument that a loyalist would put up for America to stay linked with Britain and then shoots each argument down through the clever use of reasons why each…
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Thomas Paines Common Sense
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Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” In Common Sense, Thomas Paine argues for the independence of the colonies in America. He systematically goes through each argument that a loyalist would put up for America to stay linked with Britain and then shoots each argument down through the clever use of reasons why each argument is fundamentally wrong.
To help illustrate this argument for American independence, Paine imagines a situation where a bunch of people are stranded together on a desolate island. After a short time, these people begin to get along with one another; however, they need laws in place so that their society can be controlled. From this situation, the best scenario is that these people create the laws by which they will live under themselves. This does not explicitly refer to the American colonists, but it does imply their current state at that time. Paine then turns his attack directly towards the British government by arguing that the system contradicts itself and places too much power on the monarchy. Furthermore, the monarchy itself is corrupt because the very idea of a monarch was formed out of a false argument. The people can choose who they want to be king in the first place, yet they have no choice about the king’s descendants. This presents an opportunity for greed and corruption as no one will dare to stop the monarch from continuing this practice. Paine argues that America should have the freedom to choose its leaders so that the leadership of the country will not remain within one extended family.
Furthermore, Paine dispels the myth that America could not survive without the help of Britain by arguing that America has progressed to a point where it can flourish on its own two feet. Loyalists would claim that America has only progressed to what it was then because of the help of the king, and also the protection that has been provided to fend off outside enemies. Paine comments that Britain has only been doing this in order to look after its own interests. He even gives an example of British troops attacking some American colonies, although the British would protest this view and say that they have only been looking after America the whole time. Paine remarks that America has no benefit to remain linked with Britain because America can engage in more profitable trade with the rest of Europe. The British argument would be that the colonies can remain strong by trading with Britain because trade will benefit everyone. However, Paine says that trade will only benefit Britain because the British only see the colonies as a means to further their own trade interests.
To further support his argument, Paine offers an alternative form of government, one that is independent from Britain and is voted for by the colonists. Each colony would get equal representation in selecting who would form the government. Apart from this, Paine recommends that America build a navy similar to the British navy, because the colonists now have the capabilities to build a comparable force. Finally, Paine argues that America cannot be taken seriously as an international power so long as they are under the control of Britain. Loyalists would say that Britain has helped to put America on the world map and also has also protected it from any outside forces. Read More
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