Common Sense

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According to Foot et al., it is significant that such an influential argument was authored by a recent migrant since experience is not based on duration. Regardless being in American colonies for a very short time, Thomas experienced what it was to live in colonial states. It is inevitable that such states will strive to become independent. Owing to the fact that Thomas possessed certain colonial experience, however shallow, it was acceptable for him to document his thoughts.

When Paine settled in the American colonies, he learnt several things concerning the lives of colonies and colonialists. He learnt what needs colonies had and what adjustments were needed. Such a state of affairs inspired people to be radical in fighting for their independence. It was impossible for someone unaware of the situation in the colonies to stand up and advocate for independence. Therefore, Thomas’ experience in the American colonies helped him gather relevant information about the colonies. This knowledge compelled him to try and solve the adverse situation of colonialism.

Paine scrutinizes the hostilities between the American and British colonies and decides that the most appropriate solution was to award independence. Thomas suggests a Continental Charter, which would become an American Magna Carta. Thomas writes that the Charter "ought to come from several intermediate organizations between the people and the Congress" and highlights that a Continental Conference would effectively form such a Charter. Every colony would then hold elections to elect five representatives. Two assembly members from each colony would accompany the five representatives to make an aggregate of seven legislatures to attend the Continental Conference. The Conference would convene to draft the Charter, which would secure “property and freedom to all people, and… the free practice of religion”. In addition, the Charter would outline a noble national government; Paine supposed such a body would be presented by a Congress.

Thomas proposed that a Congress be formed in the subsequent way.

Every colony ought to be apportioned in districts.

Every district ought to "send an apt number of representatives to the Congress." 

Paine supposed that every colony ought to send at least thirty delegates to the Congress; therefore, the aggregate number of representatives in the Congress ought to be a minimum of 390 individuals. The Congress would conduct annual meetings, during which they would nominate a president. Every colony would be put into lotto; the Congress would nominate a president, from the designation of the colonies that were picked in the lotto. Once a colony was chosen, it would be amputated from following lotto until all the other colonies had a chance, at which point the lotto would be over. To elect a president or pass any law would demand three out of every five members of Congress.

Nelson, in his article, writes that Paine claims people living together without a government to rule them are more likely to unite since they find it hard to live apart. Therefore, forming a society is unavoidable, with or without a government. He adds that a government arises to regulate the operations of the society after some time of coexistence. Therefore, a government is necessitated by the need to implement regulations which, over time, become laws. Elections are held in order to choose few individuals who would take governing sits to implement the regulations once the society is developed enough. When the society increases in number greatly, everybody cannot seat in the governing sits; therefore, there arises a need for a few people to be elected. This can be done fairly and democratically only through elections. With such a stand, he then considers the United Kingdoms’ constitution irrational and oppressive. Under this constitution, peers and kings who rule through heredity do not benefit common people in any way. They rule to prompt their own gain at the expense of the society at large.

According to Liell, Paine believes that all members of the human race are alike, and there should be no divisions. He argues that, according to creation as well as historical perspectives, human beings should be treated with respect and there should be no oppression. He draws his arguments from the Bible and points out that all men were created equally; thus, they have equal value regardless of geographical origins. He, therefore, quotes several Bible verses to support his allegations. In addition, he takes a historical look at what monarchies throughout history have led to; therefore, he promotes independence.  Paine argues that, from all that can be traced in history, monarchies only served to the disadvantage of their own people. The rulers only led their people to war and other social evils that led to more poverty than gain.

According to Conway and Moncure, in his bold defense of independence, Paine fails to convince his readers that the colonies needed it badly. He gives frail highlights as to why independence should be granted. The article can only convince people who experienced such colonial situations. It would not achieve much in convincing individuals unaware of the colonial state of affairs. As a result of such weak support, Paine’s allegations of oppression seem unrealistic. These allegations look more like a work of art or fiction. He also fails to show that the benefits the obtained got from their colonizers were not worth their loyalty. The benefits could not be compared in value with people’s hardships. The evils outweighed the benefits greatly. Therefore, Paine’s arguments are not strong enough to withstand sound criticism and points in support of loyalty to the British Crown.

Wood, in support of continued loyalty to the British Crown, argues that there were some benefits the colonies received from their colonizers. Many developments were brought to the colonies, a gain which the colonies would have never been able to acquire on their own. The colonizers introduced schooling and academic ideologies in the colonies. These were some of the benefits the colonies got from the UK. It could also be argued that, holding the capitalistic ideology, Britain had the freedom to implement innovations that would enable it to improve its economy. Britain, being capitalistic, needed its colonies to enable the economy to thrive. Therefore, continued loyalty to the British Crown would be an advantage to them.

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