Review of Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"

Essay by DrebryanUniversity, Bachelor's April 2006

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"Common Sense" challenged the authority of the British government and the royal monarchy. The plain language that Thomas Paine used spoke to the common people of America. Namely, Paine spoke to those who felt that the government of Great Britain was being oppressive to the American people. This 1776 publication was the first work to openly ask for independence from Great Britain. In a very articulate manner, Paine begins with his general thoughts on religion and government and later moves on to specific allegations against British abuses against his fellow colonists.

I think that it is important to note that this document would have appealed to colonists with any European background. There were settlers that came to America from all parts of Europe at this time. Thomas Paine made it a point to remind readers that Europe and not England was the mother land of the colonies.

That is to say that Great Britain is not the end all or be all of the American people's lineage and composition. German and Spanish settlers would have found comfort in Paine's words at a time when British Loyalism was at its peak. He likens Europe to America's mother and Great Britain to a monster. The fact that Europeans reside in America now, Paine would argue, is that they are fleeing from tyrannical Britain and not a loving Europe.

Trade was a very important Part of American life in the late 16th century. Thomas Paine makes some statements in Common Sense that would appeal to the disenfranchised merchant and tradesman. He points out that Europe has many closely localized kingdoms that are struggling for power too often to maintain any long standing semblance of peace for long. In this manner he basically asks, "why should Britain's constant warring with other...