The persuasion towards independence represented through the pamphlet Common Sense, is largely effective. The work portrays the unjust treatment received by the colonies from the mother country, England. Thomas Paine begins with the creation of government, as lived by the colonist, and progresses to the wrongful acts administered by Parliament and the King of England. Finally, Thomas Paine gives confidence to the unity of the colonies, and details a forceful removal of English authority.
The argument is set up extensively in the commencement of the pamphlet. Thomas Paine explains how the colonies began governing themselves. The natural governing solution for the people of the new world was a representative government. It was explained that an appointed King did not necessarily have the peoples values in mind. This groundwork laid the path for the argument to take place. It is portrayed that the people of the colonies existed in harmony, and dealt with their own problems in ways that suited the majority. Paine explains how disruptive it is for a single man, a King, to rule and govern a colony hundreds of miles away. This is obvious and logical. “To be always running three or four thousand miles with a tale or a petition, waiting four or five months for an answer, which when obtained requires five or six more to explain it
To worsen the situation of the King, heredity succession exists in a monarchy. “To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary succession; and as the first is a degredation and lessening of ourselves, so the second, claimed as a matter of right, is an insult and an imposition on posterity.” (76) This statement explains how the first King, or chosen King might better society, but there is no guarantee that his oldest son or brother has any integrity. The King succession rule distances the colonies each time it is implemented, because the colonies are that much more forgotten. The King, as well as England, begins to forget the colonies are inhabited by English men. The colonists are consistently being stuck with wrongful governing and no election power. “In America THE LAW IS KING”, but under England the colonies must respect the “King as
law” (98). Unfortunately, the similarities between the two are observed by Thomas Paine as few and far between.
Common Sense ventures towards the argument about the peace at mind and military protection provided by the mother country. England gives excuses for the taxes and rulings because of the safety factor they preserve for the colonies. Paine handles this argument by describing the time it would take to produce English armed services on American soil. The lapse would be crucial, and possibly too late. Common Sense portrays some beliefs: “We have boasted the protection of Great-Britain, without considering, that her motive was interest not attachment; that she did not protest us from our enemies on our account, but from her enemies on her own account, from those who had no quarrel with us on any other account, and who will always be our enemies on the same account.”(84) England is protecting the colonies when it is convenient for Her. Paine goes on to point out the convenience presence when it comes to governing and taxing the colonies.
Thus Paine expresses a need for a navy to give the colonies their own safety factor. Paine explains how our resources are abundant, and that it would be relatively simple to build a navy for self-defense. The pamphlet also explains the use of the navy in the inevitable revolution against England. The need of a navy is desirable, but I believe Paine might underestimate the difficulty of this task. The plan is backed with documentation and cost analysis, but there were definite loose ends. Paine appears to be boosting confidence and morale for the conquest ahead.
It is evident that Thomas Paine feels England is treating the colonists unfairly, and equally evident that he is very disappointed in the way which they are governed. Paine is ready for a revolution. When reading this document, one cannot help but feel patriotism and ambition. Paine hides a pep talk in this educational pamphlet that is received indirectly. He gives numbers to build a navy, and assurance of a fearless army equipped with the finest weaponry in the world. The last paragraph offers compassion for those fearful of the change ahead. “These proceedings may at first appear strange and difficult; but, like all other steps which we have already passed over, will in a little time become familiar and agreeable”.
Thomas Paine effectively supported his thesis in Common Sense. His reasoning was simple, and for the most part to the point. I do not believe the peace was oversimplified or over objective. Paine lays his arguments down in logical order in that one point leads to another. Paine is disgusted with a monarchy, and very supportive of a representative government. He feels England is abusing the colonists with high taxes and large trade quotas. Many petitions have been issued to the mother country with no success or progress to be reported. Paine is convinced this torture will continue until the colonies unite and declare independence. His foresight is convincing, his argument is well taken, and the thought of the outcome is intriguing.