Thomas Paine's Common Sense and the Declaration of independence

Essay by bluvitaminboxHigh School, 11th gradeA+, March 2004

download word file, 2 pages 4.3

Throughout history propaganda has been used in order to express an opinion for the purpose of influencing actions of individual and groups. Many times it has been proven to be very effective and lead to major changes in society. Thomas Paine's common sense and the declaration of independence are considered the two most potent documents of propaganda seen in American history.

Thomas Paine's Common Sense was written in the year 1776. During this time period America was attempting to gain its independence from Great Britain. Thomas Paine, a thirty-nine-year-old agitator from England, wrote the 97 page pamphlet. It sold a total of 120,000 copies in just three months. In his writings he urged America's immediate break from its mother country. He utilized propaganda in order to give his writing give a great impact on the reader. Paine gave reason as to why he believed that America should govern itself. "We may as well, assert that, because a child has thrived upon milk, it is never to have meat or that the first twenty years of our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty" This excerpt, taken from Common Sense explains how separating from Britain was just another step in the life of the country.

He sees that all he says in the pamphlet should be clearly seen and considered "common sense". He also refers to the government of England as murderers and tyrants. Paine uses the people's moral values to his advantage by also stating, "O! You that love mankind! You that dare oppose the not only tyranny but the tyrants, stand forth," People were in a sense forced to fight against England not only because they are considered tyrants but also because if they didn't they would be considered to be against all mankind. This was...