Common Sense was written by Thomas Paine in 1776 after he quickly sided with the colonists in their controversy with Britain. The pamphlet delves into the understanding of the difference between society and government. Paine is considered to be one of the “founding fathers” of America, having a large impact on the American Revolution. His work also included writings about Deism and the French Revolution.
Common Sense focuses mainly on the distinctions between society and government, including the distinctions between society and governments origins. This work wasn’t entirely difficult to understand, however there were a few points throughout the book that seemed repetitive. Paine seemed to stress the point of separating society and government excessively, something that in my opinion cannot be done without having certain consequences.
Thomas Paine’s writing sends the message that society is an overall savior, while government is wickedness. This may be so in some cases, but a truly civilized nation cannot function without a government. Society is the overall relationship between fellow members in a community. Just as much as society is needed for people to get through their everyday lives, a government is needed to make laws and to regulate them.
I agree with Paine when he wrote about how a colony needs to have representatives. I also agree with him that the representatives should be elected to office. A point that I would stress more then Paine did is that as a colony grows in population, the amount of representatives should grow accordingly. Through having representatives in a society, this will allow for the people to have a say. If people have a say in the society they live in, there will be less problems. Paine suggests that freedom and security come from society, but without government there is total chaos between those involved in that society.
One philosophy of Paine was that America should deal in gold and silver, and not have to deal with paper currency. I think that’s a foolish idea because paper currency is backed up by gold and silver, and that allows people to not have to worry about dealing strictly in gold and silver. Another philosophy of Paine was that a navy doesn’t need to have such a large number of sailors to operate ships. He said that a ship can be sailed just the same, and more men can be put to other use if the number of sailors aboard ships were lowered.
The period of the language used in Common Sense was a little confusing. The book was written in old English, being that Thomas Paine was an Englishman. Some sayings throughout the book, and certain words confused me with the point that Paine was trying to make.
There were certain ideas in Common Sense, which raised questions for me. One subject that raised questions was the situation with the British navy. They book said that the British navy was the largest and most powerful navy in the world during that time, each boat consisting of many guns. Paine said that America should have the larger navy of the two countries because America has all the raw materials needed to raise such a fleet. My question would then be why didn’t America have such a powerful navy if it was provided with such an amount of goods, such as timber, tar, and iron.
Common Sense is a primary source without a doubt. It was written by Thomas Paine, and expressed his thoughts on the matters of the distinction between society and government, and why society is purity and government is wickedness. Thomas Paine wrote this book during the hardships that America and Britain were having against one another. A secondary source would have been if a book were written criticizing Paine’s thought on the subject.
Common Sense was basically a very good book, because it set standards for America at a time when the country was at its early years. The book was very widely distributed and quickly spread throughout America, and to France as well. I think the book really got the point across that Thomas Paine believed society led to all things good in a nation or civilization, while government corrupted men and brought out the violent and wicked acts in men. The book had great influence back during the life of Thomas Paine, and is still read now. This proves the point that the book has had an impact over a large span of time.
I believe that if we work on Thomas Paines ideals, countries today can fix problems in their nation. Nations could uncorrupt their governments and learn to make their countries a better place to live in. Like it says in Common Sense, a country that is run with a monarch will not last as long as a country run by a democracy because the people in the end will have to ultimate say of what goes on in their country.
In my opinion, anyone who is interested in past American politics, or politics of any country, should read Common Sense. It explains a lot of what went on with the economy of our country, and the economy of Britain as well. It gives theories of how to run a country through not using a monarchy, and having representatives in a country through a democracy.