Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, England, in 1737. During his childhood, he received little formal education, but he did not learn how to read, write, and perform arithmetic. Later on, he worked as an officer of the excise, hunting smugglers, and collecting liquor and tobacco taxes. Unfortunately for Paine, his early life jobs were repeated failures. As Paine started to grow up into an adult he started to write articles. In the summer of 1772, Paine published “The Case of the Officers of Excise,” a 21-page article about defending higher pay for excise workers. The article was considered to be his first political work and he spent most of the winter of 1772, handing out the 4000 copies to members of Parliament and other citizens. Thomas Paine later moved to America where he arrived in Philadelphia on November 30, 1774, to take up his first regular employment; helping to edit the Pennsylvania Magazine in January 1775. Paine gained some first-hand experience on writing articles and began to publish several articles like “African Slavery in America”. Paine’s propagandist ideas were starting to come together at this time During the revolution, Paine argued that America should demand independence from Great Britain entirely. He expanded on this idea in a 50-page pamphlet called “Common Sense” which was printed on January 10, 1776. He also wrote the Crisis Papers which inspired the troops to fight harder against the British forces. After the revolution, he wrote “Public Good” in 1780 calling for a national convention to replace the Articles of Confederation with a strong central government under a constitution. After heading back to England in April 1787, Paine was inspired to write the book “Rights of Man in 1791 during the French Revolution. The British government banned the book and Paine was indicted for treason and sent to prison. During his time in prison, he wrote “The Age of Reason” and only the first part was published. After he was released from prison on 1794, Paine stayed in France and released the second and third parts of The Age of Reason before returning to the United States. Paine passed away in June 1809.
Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775-76 advocating independence from Great Britain to colonists in the Thirteen Colonies. It was one of the major factors in bringing about the American Revolution. The main purpose of the pamphlet was to help cause the American colonists to decide to fight for independence against Great Britain. Originally, the American colonists were fighting and revolting against taxation from Great Britain but Thomas Paine disagreed with the motive. He argued that the American colonists should not only revolt against taxation, but to fight for independence from Britain entirely. Common Sense was written in a way that only contains nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and “common sense” on the idea of American independence from Great Britain. Paine’s arguments were straightforward. He argued for two main points which are, independence from Great Britain and the creation of a Democratic Republic. Paine’s arguments begin with a more general and simple facts or reflections about government and religion, then progresses onto the specifics of the colonial situation. The central message or the main thesis of the book was that monarchy is a terrible form of government and that American colonies should be independent from Great Britain and become their own country. To explain how monarchy is a bad form of government, Paine starts off by comparing and distinguishing government and society. According to Paine, society is everything constructive and good that people join together to accomplish. Government, however, has its origins in the evil of man and is a necessary evil at best. Paine states that the government’s sole purpose is to protect life, liberty and property. One example that Paine used to argue that monarchy is a bad form of government is that he created a scenario in which a small group of people has been placed on an island. On the island, all the people are cut off from the rest of society. In time, these people bond and develop a relationship with each other and lawmaking becomes impossible to avoid. Paine continues by stating that people will be much happier if they responsible for the creation of the laws that rule them. Paine goes on to attack the British government and says that the system is too complex and filled with contradictions. Monarchy is given too much power and the system of government that Great Britain runs “offers” a reasonable system of checks and balances, but in reality, it does not. The argument that monarchy is a bad form of government is strengthened when Paine uses another example where the world was without kings but ancient Jews decided that they wanted a king. Paine presents a biblical evidence that details God’s wrath at the idea of the Jews having a king. The conclusion that Paine reaches is that the practice of monarchy originates from sin. Paine also argues that hereditary succession is an atrocious practice. From historical evidence, hereditary succession resulted in innumerable evils such as incompetent kings, corruption, and civil war. Paine’s second argument was that America should be completely free from Great Britain. He explains that in the past, America may have needed Britain’s help but America has evolved since then and no longer require help from Britain. Although Britain has protected America and “deserves” allegiance, Paine argues that Britain only watched over America for selfish reasons like securing its own economic well-being. He adds on that the colonies have little to gain from remaining attachment to Britain and problems that have arisen in the past will arise again in the future and it is necessary to seek independence now. If America is independent from Great Britain, how will it govern itself? Paine proposes the idea of a representative democracy that gives equal power to each of the colonies. More reasons and arguments of why America should become an independent country include the international scene. Paine explains that if America remains attached with Great Britain, it will lack respectability and simply seen as rebels from other foreign countries. America will be unable to create alliances with other nations. With independence, America will be able to seek help of other countries in its struggle for freedom. Because of all these reasons, Paine says it is extremely important and urgent that the colonies declare independence from Great Britain.All