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Common Sense by Thomas Paine
First published anonymously due to its seditious content in 1776, the pamphlet argues for the need of American colonists to pursue complete independence from Great Britain, and not be driven simply by the urge to free themselves from unfair taxation. Paine provides argumentation for his revolutionary ideas, suggesting the unification of colonial forces to achieve this goal. Furthermore, Paine strengthens his case by clearly asserting the advantages that would come out as a result of independence, and further fortifies his argumentation with religious references. Written in a clear straightforward manner and comprehensible to the common people, Common Sense was immediately well-received after its publication, providing both inspiration and motivation to strive towards obtaining freedom. Consequently, the pamphlet was widely distributed and read at public events, while its ideas later earned Paine an important position in the country’s history. Divided into four sections, Paine begins his work by distinguishing between government and society, suggesting that the purpose of the government is to protect society from their flawed nature. Paine illustrates the balance between society and government through a scenario in which a group of isolated people eventually surrender to the need of introducing regulations, which later results in the formation of a government. By providing such a scenario, Paine effectively creates a model which he argues is a better option for the American colonists. Subsequently, Paine goes on to analyze the validity of monarchy and hereditary succession through a biblical and historical perspective, as he provides evidence that support his views including biblical citations and an examination of historical events. Following his theoretical approach, Paine shifts his attention to giving a detailed account of the current circumstance of America, as he concentrates on supporting his claims calling for unity and independence. Regarded as one the most influential pamphlets in American History, the pro-independence monograph pamphlet is a must-read for anyone interested in learning more about the American Revolution, as it was the most widely read pamphlet at the time. Needless to say, Common Sense gives an insight into the ideas and values that shaped the United States of America into the independent nation it is today.
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