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Common Sense -Thomas Paine

Common Sense -Thomas Paine

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Thomas Paine

Common Sense
Thomas Paine
Special U.S History Collection

The Electronic Books Foundation

Common Sense

© The Electronic Books Foundation


the author hath studiously avoided every thing which is personal among ourselves. it is now presumed that none will. In the following sheets. The Publication of this new Edition hath been delayed. 1776 Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages. and in the Event of which. Compliments as well as censure to individuals make no part thereof. is the Concern of every Man to whom Nature hath given the Power of feeling. and under no sort of Influence public or private. is the AUTHOR. and as the good people of this country are grievously oppressed by the combination. Time makes more converts than reason. Many circumstances hath. the Time needful for getting such a Performance ready for the Public being considerably past. is wholly unnecessary to the Public. But the tumult soon subsides. had not the Sufferers been aggravated into the inquiry) and as the King of England hath undertaken in his OWN RIGHT. need not the triumph of a pamphlet. is generally the Means of calling the right of it in question (and in Matters too which might never have been thought of. will cease of themselves unless too much pains are bestowed upon their conversion. February 14. The wise. As a long and violent abuse of power. The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. Yet it may not be unnecessary to say. and those whose sentiments are injudicious. of which Class. regardless of Party Censure. P. gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT. to support the Parliament in what he calls THEIRS. but universal. but the influence of reason and principle. and through which the principles of all Lovers of Mankind are affected. and equally to reject the usurpation of either. and extirpating the Defenders thereof from the Face of the Earth. their Affections are interested. not the MAN. That he is unconnected with any Party. with a View of taking notice (had it been necessary) of any Attempt to refute the Doctrine of Independence: As no Answer hath yet appeared. The laying a Country desolate with Fire and Sword. Who the Author of this Production is. and the worthy. or unfriendly. and will arise. as the Object for Attention is the DOCTRINE ITSELF. which are not local. and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.Thomas Paine Introduction them general favour. declaring War against the natural rights of all Mankind. are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure 3 . Philadelphia. they have an undoubted privilege to inquire into the pretensions of both. a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG. S.

Common Sense © The Electronic Books Foundation 4 .

Society is produced by our wants. or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT. the other creates distinctions. would be death. is the badge of lost innocence. who in his turn requires the same. whereas they are not only different. For were the impulses of conscience clear. The first is a patron. but that not being the case. and his mind so unfitted for perpetual solitude. it unanswerably follows that whatever form thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us. the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. But as the Colony encreases. In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of government. uniform and irresistibly obeyed. that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of another. our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. nor erect it after it was removed. Thus necessity. let us suppose a small number of persons settled in some sequestered part of the earth. and the distance at which the members may be separated. and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him. unconnected with the rest. they will then represent the first peopling of any country. but Government. Government. and reduce him to a state in which he might rather be said to perish than to die. which bound them together in a common cause. Some convenient tree will afford them a State House. In this first parliament every man by natural right will have a seat. This will point out the convenience of their consenting to leave the legislative part to be managed by a select number chosen from the whole body. he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest.Thomas Paine Of the Origin and Design of Government in General. but have different origins. in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer. will render it too inconvenient for all of them to meet on every occasion as at first. or of the world. but as nothing but Heaven is impregnable to vice. the last a punisher. for. the reciprocal blessings of which would supersede. Four or five united would be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of a wilderness. nay even misfortune. would soon form our newly arrived emigrants into society. when he had felled his timber he could not remove it. the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. In this state of natural liberty. they will begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other: and this remissness will point out the necessity of establishing some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue. security being the true design and end of government. It is more than probable that their first laws will have the title only of Regulations and be enforced by no other penalty than public disesteem. who are supposed to have the same concerns at stake which those have who appointed them. the strength of one man is so unequal to his wants. and the public concerns few and trifling. though neither might be mortal. as to leave little or no distinction between them. under the branches of which the whole Colony may assemble to deliberate on public matters. out of two evils to choose the least. with the least expense and greatest benefit. even in its best state. the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections. when their number was small. The one encourages intercourse. with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution SOME writers have so confounded society with government. Disease. and render the obligations of law and government unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to each other. Society in every state is a blessing. hunger in the mean time would urge him to quit his work. like a gravitating power. Wherefore. but one man might labour out the common period of life without accomplishing any thing. the public concerns will encrease likewise. like dress. and every different want would call him a different way. If the colony 5 . it will unavoidably happen that in proportion as they surmount the first difficulties of emigration. is but a necessary evil. yet either would disable him from living. society will be their first thought. their habitations near. which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT. is preferable to all others. A thousand motives will excite them thereto. and who will act in the same manner as the whole body would act were they present. and government by our wickedness. man would need no other lawgiver.

if the people suffer. gives afterwards the King a power to check the Commons. each part sending its proper number: and that the ELECTED might never form to themselves an interest separate from the ELECTORS. know likewise the remedy. their fidelity to the public will be secured by the prudent reflection of not making a rod for themselves. on whose virtue depends the freedom of England. or interest darken our understanding. we shall find them to be the base remains of two ancient tyrannies. by empowering him to reject their other © The Electronic Books Foundation 6 . however prejudice may warp our wills. a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world. But the constitution of England is so exceedingly complex. by being appointed for that purpose.) depends the STRENGTH OF GOVERNMENT. (tho' the disgrace of human nature) have this advantage with them. And however our eyes may be dazzled with show. viz. that the more simple any thing is. and that the interest of every part of the colony may be attended to. by being hereditary. Secondly. either the words have no meaning. is granted. compounded with some new Republican materials. are either wiser or more worthy of confidence than the Crown. it will be found best to divide the whole into convenient parts. they know the head from which their suffering springs. When the world was overrun with tyranny the least remove therefrom was a glorious rescue. or in other words. it will become necessary to augment the number of representatives. the less liable it is to be disordered. — That the Commons. they are simple. I know it is difficult to get over local or long standing prejudices. reciprocally CHECKING each other. I draw my idea of the form of government from a principle in nature which no art can overturn. is farcical. the simple voice of nature and reason will say. and are not bewildered by a variety of causes and cures. and incapable of producing what it seems to promise is easily demonstrated. and every political physician will advise a different medicine. The two first. namely. That it was noble for the dark and slavish times in which it was erected. — The remains of Aristocratical tyranny in the persons of the Peers. that a thirst for absolute power is the natural disease of monarchy. And as this frequent interchange will establish a common interest with every part of the community.Common Sense continue encreasing. 'tis right. Thirdly. subject to convulsions. First. in the persons of the Commons. — The remains of Monarchical tyranny in the person of the King. wherefore in a CONSTITUTIONAL SENSE they contribute nothing towards the freedom of the State. and with this maxim in view I offer a few remarks on the so much boasted constitution of England. (not on the unmeaning name of king. some will say in one and some in another. Absolute governments. viz. — The new Republican materials. yet if we will suffer ourselves to examine the component parts of the English Constitution. they will mutually and naturally support each other. and on this. that the nation may suffer for years together without being able to discover in which part the fault lies. and the easier repaired when disordered. AND THE HAPPINESS OF THE GOVERNED. Secondly. or our ears deceived by sound. Freedom and security. or they are flat contradictions. Here then is the origin and rise of government. To say that the constitution of England is an UNION of three powers. — That the King it not to be trusted without being looked after. are independent of the People. prudence will point out the propriety of having elections often: because as the ELECTED might by that means return and mix again with the general body of the ELECTORS in a few months. But as the same constitution which gives the Commons a power to check the King by withholding the supplies. First. here too is the design and end of government. But that it is imperfect.

the people another. their endeavours will be ineffectual: The first moving power will at last have its way. yet the business of a king requires him to know it thoroughly. and though they may amuse the ear. that the nicest construction that words are capable of. viz. by unnaturally opposing and destroying each other. HOW CAME THE KING BY A POWER WHICH THE PEOPLE ARE AFRAID TO TRUST. wherefore the different parts. yet empowers him to act in cases where the highest judgment is required. when applied to the description of something which either cannot exist. The prejudice of Englishmen. or is too incomprehensible to be within the compass of description. for as we are never in a proper condition of doing justice to others. prove the whole character to be absurd and useless. be from God. while we continue under the influence of some leading partiality. check the rapidity of its motion. AND ALWAYS OBLIGED TO CHECK? Such a power could not be the gift of a wise people. as the phrase is. arises as much or more from national pride than reason. and what it wants in speed is supplied by time. and that it derives its whole consequence merely from being the giver of places and pensions is self-evident. for that will govern: and tho' the others. the means either cannot or will not accomplish the end. it again supposes that the King is wiser than those whom it has already supposed to be wiser than him. with this difference. is one. the Peers are a house in behalf of the King. by King. and as all the wheels of a machine are put in motion by one. that instead of proceeding directly from his mouth. Lords and Commons. will be words of sound only. neither can any power. For the fate of Charles the First hath only made kings more subtle — not more just. AND NOT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT that the crown is not as oppressive in England as in Turkey. WHICH NEEDS CHECKING. An inquiry into the CONSTITUTIONAL ERRORS in the English form of government. the plain truth is that IT IS WHOLLY OWING TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE. laying aside all national pride and prejudice in favour of modes and forms. or. may clog. Some writers have explained the English constitution thus: the King. or a part of them. and though the expressions be pleasantly arranged. is at this time highly necessary. yet the provision which the constitution makes supposes such a power to exist. The state of a king shuts him from the World. we at the same time have been foolish enough to put the Crown in possession of the key. so neither are we capable of doing it to ourselves while we remain fettered by any obstinate prejudice. wherefore. but this hath all the distinctions of a house divided against itself. That the crown is this overbearing part in the English constitution needs not be mentioned. 7 . so any prepossession in favour of a rotten constitution of government will disable us from discerning a good one. and the whole affair is a Felo de se: for as the greater weight will always carry up the less. A mere absurdity! There is something exceedingly ridiculous in the composition of Monarchy.Thomas Paine bills. though we have been wise enough to shut and lock a door against absolute Monarchy. it is handed to the people under the formidable shape of an act of parliament. But the provision is unequal to the task. the commons in behalf of the people. it only remains to know which power in the constitution has the most weight. Wherefore. yet when examined they appear idle and ambiguous. Individuals are undoubtedly safer in England than in some other countries: but the will of the king is as much the law of the land in Britain as in France. yet so long as they cannot stop it. in favour of their own government. and it will always happen. say they. And as a man who is attached to a prostitute is unfitted to choose or judge of a wife. it first excludes a man from the means of information. they cannot inform the mind: for this explanation includes a previous question.

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" Words need not be more explicit: Gideon doth not decline the honour. Till then their form of government (except in extraordinary cases where the Almighty interposed) was a kind of Republic. there were no wars. the consequence of which was. In the early ages of the world. thou and thy son. Near three thousand years passed away. good and bad the distinctions of Heaven. Holland. and victory thro' the divine interposition decided in his favour. but an hereditary one. and in a state of vassalage to the Romans. The Heathens paid divine honours to their deceased kings. is worth inquiring into. it is the pride of kings which throws mankind into confusion. Male and female are the distinctions of nature. it generally makes him too timorous to be wealthy. from whom the children of Israel copied the custom. not a kingdom only. "Rule thou over us. Kings they had none. neither shall my son rule over you. elate with success.Thomas Paine Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession MANKIND being originally equals in the order of creation. Oppression is often the CONSEQUENCE. for the will of the Almighty as declared by Gideon. "Render unto Cesar the things which are Cesar's" is the scripture doctrine of courts. yet it is no support of monarchical government. and distinguished like some new species. saying. And when a man seriously reflects on the idolatrous homage which is paid to the persons of kings. till the Jews under a national delusion requested a king. he need not wonder that the Almighty. who in the midst of his splendor is crumbling into dust! As the exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified on the equal rights of nature. The Jews. from the Mosaic account of the creation. But there is another and great distinction for which no truly natural or religious reason can be assigned. How impious is the title of sacred Majesty applied to a worm. and the Christian World hath improved on the plan by doing the same to their living ones. but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest. for the quiet and rural lives of the first Patriarchs have a snappy something in them. and it was held sinful to acknowledge any being under that title but the Lord of Hosts. The history of that transaction is worth attending to. but de9 . and attributing it to the generalship of Gideon. and that without having recourse to the harsh ill-sounding names of oppression and avarice. Monarchy is ranked in scripture as one of the sins of the Jews. for the Jews at that time were without a king. The children of Israel being oppressed by the Midianites. according to the scripture chronology there were no kings. which vanishes when we come to the history of Jewish royalty. Gideon marched against them with a small army. the equality could only be destroyed by some subsequent circumstance: the distinctions of rich and poor may in a great measure be accounted for." Here was temptation in its fullest extent. so neither can it be defended on the authority of scripture. All anti-monarchical parts of scripture have been very smoothly glossed over in monarchical governments. and that is the distinction of men into KINGS and SUBJECTS. expressly disapproves of government by Kings. ever jealous of his honour. administered by a judge and the elders of the tribes. "I will not rule over you. THE LORD SHALL RULE OVER YOU. and thy son's son. Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens. and whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind. but Gideon in the piety of his soul replied. and tho' avarice will preserve a man from being necessitously poor. It was the most prosperous invention the Devil ever set on foot for the promotion of idolatry. for which a curse in reserve is denounced against them. without a king hath enjoyed more peace for this last century than any of the monarchical governments in Europe. and the prophet Samuel. proposed making him a king. but seldom or never the MEANS of riches. Antiquity favours the same remark. but they undoubtedly merit the attention of countries which have their governments yet to form. should disapprove a form of government which so impiously invades the prerogative of Heaven.

and ye shall be his servants. IN ASKING YOU A KING. That the Almighty hath here entered his protest against monarchical government is true. even the best of them. "And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people. who were intrusted with some secular concerns. that laying hold of the misconduct of Samuel's two sons. and go out before us and fight our battles. saying. The hankering which the Jews had for the idolatrous customs of the Heathens. are the standing vices of Kings) "and he will take the tenth of your men servants. viz. and to be bakers" (this describes the expense and luxury as well as the oppression of Kings) "and he will take your fields and your vineyards. but only as a MAN after God's own heart. TO ASK A KING. and to be cooks. Nay. For monarchy in every instance is the popery of government. is something exceedingly unaccountable. and they said. the character is still in fashion. protest solemnly unto them and show them the manner of the King that shall reign over them. neither doth he compliment them with invented declarations of his thanks. i." These portions of scripture are direct and positive. give us a King to judge us. that asked of him a King. So Samuel called unto the Lord. they came in an abrupt and clamorous manner to Samuel. and Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And all the people said unto Samuel. Now therefore hearken unto their voice. for they have not rejected thee.e. To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary succession. "But the thing displeased Samuel when they said. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day. And he will take the tenth of your seed. AND THE LORD WILL NOT HEAR YOU IN THAT DAY. and to make his instruments of war. and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel. being in the time of wheat harvest) "that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great which ye have done in the sight of the Lord. not of any particular King. they fell again into the same error. and give them to his officers and to his servants" (by which we see that bribery. but all would not avail. About one hundred and thirty years after this. For all men being originally equals. And he said. and favouritism. he cried out. but the general manner of the Kings of the earth whom Israel was so eagerly copying after. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries. corruption. and of your vineyards. the Heathens. but we will have a king over us. and your maid servants. or blot out the sinfulness of the origin. and instruments of his chariots. Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God that we die not. but so it was. and the Lord said unto Samuel. and give them to his servants. and your goodliest young men. wherewith they have forsaken me. and your olive yards. so the second. And a man hath good reason to believe that there is as much of kingcraft as priestcraft in withholding the scripture from the public in popish countries." This accounts for the continuation of Monarchy. THAT I SHOULD NOT REIGN OVER THEM. "Behold thou art old. that we may be like all the nations. whereas their true glory lay in being as much UNLIKE them as possible. but they have rejected me.Common Sense nieth their right to give it. is an insult and imposition on posterity. and seeing them fully bent on their folly. or the scripture is false. but in the positive style of a prophet charges them with disaffection to their proper Sovereign. He will take your sons and appoint them for himself for his chariots and to be his horsemen. either sanctify the title. e." And here we cannot observe but that their motives were bad. and put them to his work: and he will take the tenth of your sheep." i. "I will call unto the Lord. and served other Gods: so do they also unto thee." Samuel continued to reason with them but to no purpose. will set them to clear his ground and to reap his harvest. This shall be the manner of the King that shall reign over you. and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day. howbeit. And notwithstanding the great distance of time and difference of manners. and some shall run before his chariots" (this description agrees with the present mode of impressing men) "and he will appoint him captains over thousands and captains over fifties. and your asses. the high encomium of David takes no notice of him OFFICIALLY AS A KING. for WE HAVE ADDED UNTO OUR SINS THIS EVIL. "Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. that they might be LIKE unto other nations. One of the strongest natural © The Electronic Books Foundation 10 . no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever. and he shall send thunder and rain" (which was then a punishment. yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them. the King of Heaven. now make us a king to judge us like all the other nations. neither do the characters of the few good kings which have lived since. he set before them their ingratitude. and tho' himself might deserve some decent degree of honours of his contemporaries. claimed as a matter of right. and ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shell have chosen. and as the first is a degradation and lessening of ourselves. and they sons walk not in thy ways. They admit of no equivocal construction. hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee. and that our king may judge us.

and welcome. The plain truth is. and in the other to sovereignty. we should find the first of them nothing better than the principal ruffian of some restless gang. others from superstition. hath no parallel in or out of scripture but the doctrine of original sin. no man will be so hardy as to defend it." Because such an unwise. if there are any so weak as to believe it. but as something casual or complemental. by which means it happened. As to usurpation. by giving mankind an ASS FOR A LION. If the first king of any country was by election. and though they might say "We choose you for our head. it was very easy. I shall neither copy their humility. overawed the quiet and defenseless to purchase their safety by frequent contributions. unnatural compact might (perhaps) in the next succession put them under the government of a rogue or a fool. Dishonourable rank! inglorious connection! yet the most subtle sophist cannot produce a juster simile. that what at first was submitted to as a convenience was afterwards claimed as a right. that. or by usurpation. as our innocence was lost in the first. and that William the Conqueror was an usurper is a fact not to be contradicted. as no man at first could possess any other public honors than were bestowed upon him. It certainly hath no divinity in it. to trump up some superstitious tale conveniently timed. This is supposing the present race of kings in the world to have had an honorable origin: whereas it is more than probable. A French bastard landing with an armed Banditti and establishing himself king of England against the consent of the natives. because such a perpetual exclusion of themselves was incompatible with the free and restrained principles they professed to live by. so the givers of those honors could have no power to give away the right of posterity. viz. it establishes a precedent for the next. by the act of the first electors. could we take off the dark covering of antiquity and trace them to their first rise. If the first king was taken by lot. nor disturb their devotion. which supposes the free will of all men lost in Adam. but groaned beneath a much larger number of bad ones: yet no man in his senses can say that their claim under William the Conqueror is a very honourable one. is in plain terms a very paltry rascally original.Thomas Paine proofs of the folly of hereditary right in Kings. that the antiquity of English monarchy will not bear looking into. unjust. Yet his electors could have no idea of giving hereditary right to his descendants. or seemed to threaten. hereditary succession can derive no glory. the traditionary history stuff 'd with fables. let them promiscuously worship the Ass and the Lion. hereditary succession in the early ages of monarchy could not take place as a matter of claim. and it will admit of no other. However it is needless to spend much time in exposing the folly of hereditary right. and who by increasing in power and extending his depredations. after the lapse of a few generations. 11 . is that nature disapproves it. as it hath happened since. by election. and as in the first electors all men obeyed. yet it is one of those evils which when once established is not easily removed: many submit from fear. and from such comparison. it unanswerably follows that original sin and hereditary succession are parallels. for as in Adam all sinned. yet the succession was not hereditary. England since the conquest hath known some few good monarchs. to cram hereditary right down the throats of the vulgar. Perhaps the disorders which threatened. Secondly. neither does it appear from that transaction that there was any intention it ever should. either by lot. that the right of all future generations is taken away. that likewise establishes a precedent for the next. as in the one all mankind were subjected to Satan. but as few or no records were extant in those days. and our authority in the last. Saul was by lot. and as both disable us from re-assuming some former state and privilege. Yet I should be glad to ask how they suppose kings came at first? The question admits but of three answers. on the decease of a leader and the choice of a new one (for elections among ruffians could not be very orderly) induced many at first to favour hereditary pretensions. which excludes hereditary succession. Mahomet-like. for to say. Wherefore. in their choice not only of a king but of a family of kings for ever. and the more powerful part shares with the king the plunder of the rest." they could not without manifest injustice to their children say "that your children and your children's children shall reign over ours forever. otherwise she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule. whose savage manners of pre-eminence in subtilty obtained him the title of chief among plunderers. Most wise men in their private sentiments have ever treated hereditary right with contempt.

whereas it is the most bare-faced falsity ever imposed upon mankind. that Henry was taken in triumph from a prison to a palace. And so uncertain is the fate of war and the temper of a nation.Common Sense But it is not so much the absurdity as the evil of hereditary succession which concerns mankind. it would be weighty. For 'tis the Republican and not the Monarchical part of the Constitution of England which Englishmen glory in. by having all the places in its disposal. and Edward re-called to succeed him. and others to obey. The most plausible plea which hath ever been offered in favor of hereditary succession is. In absolute monarchies the whole weight of business civil and military lies on the King. as sudden transitions of temper are seldom lasting. and eaten out the virtue of the House of Commons (the Republican part in the constitution) that the government of England is nearly as monarchical as that of France or Spain." But in countries where he is neither a Judge nor a General. In both these cases the public becomes a prey to every miscreant who can tamper successfully with the follies either of age or infancy. in which time there has been (including the revolution) no less than eight civil wars and nineteen Rebellions. Including a period of 67 years. viz. the less business there is for a King. The parliament always following the strongest side. Twice was Henry prisoner to Edward. viz. laid England in a scene of blood for many years. Did it ensure a race of good and wise men it would have the seal of divine authority. but as it opens a door to the FOOLISH. and after sauntering away their lives without pleasure to themselves or advantage to the nation. a man would be puzzled to know what IS his business. Men fall out with names without understanding them. The whole history of England disowns the fact. Why is the constitution of England sickly. that the throne is subject to be possessed by a minor at any age. and when they succeed in the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions. Selected from the rest of mankind. monarchy and succession have laid (not this or that kingdom only) but the world in blood and ashes. Men who look upon themselves born to reign. It is somewhat difficult to find a proper name for the government of England. and the IMPROPER. hath so effectually swallowed up the power. This contest began in the reign of Henry the Sixth. and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large. when nothing but personal matters are the ground of a quarrel. the children of Israel in their request for a king urged this plea. between the houses of York and Lancaster. The same national misfortune happens when a king worn out with age and infirmity enters the last stage of human weakness. from 1422 to 1489. Henry in his turn was driven from the throne. Twelve pitched battles besides skirmishes and sieges were fought between Henry and Edward. and go out before us and fight our battles. and Edward obliged to fly from a palace to a foreign land. and blood will attend it. "that he may judge us. their minds are early poisoned by importance. 'Tis a form of government which the word of God bears testimony against. the liberty of choosing an House of Commons from out of their own body — and it is easy to see that when Republican virtues fail. © The Electronic Books Foundation 12 . Thirty kings and two minors have reigned in that distracted kingdom since the conquest. because the corrupt influence of the Crown. and were this true. withdraw from the scene. If we enquire into the business of a King. yet. as in England. all which time the regency acting under the cover of a king have every opportunity and inducement to betray their trust. it hath in it the nature of oppression. Wherefore instead of making for peace. that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests. slavery ensues. we shall find that in some countries they may have none. The contest for monarchy and succession. the Crown hath engrossed the Commons. The nearer any government approaches to a Republic. who in his turn was prisoner to Henry. and destroys the very foundation it seems to stand upon. In short. but in its present state it is unworthy of the name. the WICKED. and leave their successors to tread the same idle round. Another evil which attends hereditary succession is. it makes against it. and was not entirely extinguished till Henry the Seventh. soon grow insolent. that it preserves a nation from civil wars. but because monarchy hath poisoned the Republic. Sir William Meredith calls it a Republic. in whom the families were united.

in plain terms.Thomas Paine In England a King hath little more to do than to make war and give away places. which. is to empoverish the nation and set it together by the ears. A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year for. and worshipped into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man to society. and in the sight of God. 13 . than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.

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Nothing can be more fallacious than this kind of argument. — for the sake of trade and dominion. the true character of a man. By referring the matter from argument to arms. but of a Continent — of at least one-eighth part of the habitable Globe. proposals. The commerce by which she hath enriched herself are the necessaries of life. and what we are to expect. and common sense: and have no other preliminaries to settle with the reader. the other friendship. replied. is admitted. on the principles of nature and common sense.Thomas Paine Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs IN the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts. and generously enlarge his views beyond the present day. The Sun never shined on a cause of greater worth. faith and honour. it is but right that we should examine the contrary side of the argument. I have heard it asserted by some. the one proposing force. say some. like an agreeable dream. a County. To examine that connection and dependence. by the proceedings now. viz. or rather that he will not put off. and with various designs. viz. than that he will divest himself of prejudice and prepossession. That she hath engrossed us is true. or an age. are superseded and useless now. Volumes have been written on the subject of the struggle between England and America. As much hath been said of the advantages of reconciliation. that as America has flourished under her former connection with Great Britain. to the commencement of hostilities. but it hath so far happened that the first hath failed. prior to the nineteenth of April. All plans. and will always have a market while eating is the custom of Europe. and probably much more. from different motives. by being connected with and dependent on Great Britain. had no European power taken any notice of her. the name of ancestors will be remembered by future generations with detestation. a union with Great Britain. the appeal was the choice of the King. and the period of debate is closed." Should a thought so fatal and unmanly possess the Colonies in the present contest. Whatever was advanced by the advocates on either side of the question then. and suffer his reason and his feelings to determine for themselves that he will put on. "THEY WILL LAST MY TIME. plain arguments. and the Continent has accepted the challenge. or that the first twenty years of our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty. but all have been ineffectual. 'Tis not the affair of a City. are like the almanacks of the last year. But even this is admitting more than is true. We may as well assert that because a child has thrived upon milk. hath passed away and left us as we were. Now is the seed-time of Continental union. The least fracture now will be like a name engraved with the point of a pin on the tender rind of a young oak.e. posterity are virtually involved in the contest. Arms as the last resource decide the contest. terminated in one and the same point. and will be more or less affected even to the end of time. It hath been reported of the late Mr. But she has protected us. the wound would enlarge with the tree. and the second hath withdrawn her influence. and enquire into some of the many material injuries which these Colonies sustain. and she would have defended Turkey from the same motive. for I answer roundly that America would have flourished as much. which. and will always have the same effect. the same connection is necessary towards her future happiness. the only difference between the parties was the method of effecting it. and defended the Continent at our expense as well as her own. which tho' proper then. Pelham (who tho' an able minister was not without his faults) that on his being attacked in the House of Commons on the score that his measures were only of a temporary kind. a year. Men of all ranks have embarked in the controversy. if dependent. 15 . i. and posterity read in it full grown characters. &c. and always will sustain. if separated. 'Tis not the concern of a day. a Province. to see what we have to trust to. that it is never to have meat. or a Kingdom. a new era for politics is struck — a new method of thinking hath arisen.

and that she did not protect us from OUR ENEMIES on OUR ACCOUNT. that in conjunction they might bid defiance to the world. A man born in any town in England divided into parishes. he drops the narrow idea of a street. and half the peers of England are descendants from the same country. Let Britain waive her pretensions to the Continent. or only partly so. and salutes him by the name of TOWNSMAN. say some. if I may so call it.Common Sense Alas! we have been long led away by ancient prejudices and made large sacrifices to superstition. that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home.e. wherefore. It hath lately been asserted in parliament. Africa. But. we forget the narrow limits of three hundred and sixty miles (the extent of England) and carry our friendship on a larger scale. It is pleasant to observe by what regular gradations we surmount the force of local prejudices. Holland. I reprobate the phrase of Parent or Mother Country applied to England only. Britain. our enemies as AMERICANS. or Europe. their local remembrance would be enlarged into that of ENGLISHMEN. Distinctions too limited for Continental minds. and calls him COUNTRYMAN. what does it amount to? Nothing. neither do the expressions mean anything. for England. Wherefore. town. or Sweden. but as our being the SUBJECTS OF GREAT BRITAIN. stand in the same places on the larger scale. and we should be at peace with France and Spain. nor savages make war upon their families. for this continent would never suffer itself to be drained of inhabitants. from those who had no quarrel with us on any OTHER ACCOUNT. and the phrase PARENT OR MOTHER COUNTRY hath been jesuitically adopted by the King and his parasites. but it is the nearest and only true way of proving enmity (or enemyship. of the present line (William the Conqueror) was a Frenchman. are COUNTRYMEN. are sister Colonies by the way of England. nor perhaps ever will be. and triumph in the generosity of the sentiment. England ought to be governed by France. In this extensive quarter of the globe. turns to her reproach. will naturally associate most with his fellow parishioners (because their interests in many cases will be common) and distinguish him by the name of NEIGHBOR. we claim brotherhood with every European Christian. with a low papistical design of gaining an unfair bias on the credulous weakness of our minds. if he travel out of the county and meet him in any other. admitting that we were all of English descent. or any other part of EUROPE. if he meet him but a few miles from home. and who will always be our enemies on the SAME ACCOUNT. to support the British arms in either Asia. as we enlarge our acquaintance with the World. that Pennsylvania and the Jerseys and so on for the rest. if true. Europe. The first king of England. are of English descent. COUNTYMAN. but from HER ENEMIES on HER OWN ACCOUNT. the fate of war is uncertain. as being false. when compared with the whole. We have boasted the protection of Great Britain. he forgets the minor divisions of street and town. But this is mere presumption. © The Electronic Books Foundation 16 . Even brutes do not devour their young. the assertion.) France and Spain never were. even of this province. i. being now an open enemy. i. all Europeans meeting in America. but if in their foreign excursions they should associate in France. without considering. or the Continent throw off the dependence. that the Colonies have no relation to each other but through the Parent Country. but it happens not to be true. but from the cruelty of the monster.e. Hither have they fled. Not one third of the inhabitants. And by a just parity of reasoning. were they at war with Britain. and county do on the smaller ones. and it is so far true of England. selfish. Wherefore. extinguishes every other name and title: and to say that reconciliation is our duty. Then the more shame upon her conduct. narrow and ungenerous. which the divisions of street. But Britain is the parent country. Germany. by the same method of reasoning. is the parent country of America. this is certainly a very roundabout way of proving relationship. [Pennsylvania]. Much hath been said of the united strength of Britain and the Colonies. and not England. or any other quarter of the globe. is truly farcical. not from the tender embraces of the mother. that her motive was INTEREST not ATTACHMENT. This new World hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from EVERY PART of Europe. The miseries of Hanover last war ought to warn us against connections. pursues their descendants still.

which she never can do. and should it not. The time likewise at which the Continent was discovered. Endangered by the fire of their friends if they continue within the city and plundered by the soldiery if they leave it. any submission to. while. Every thing that is right or reasonable pleads for separation. The authority of Great Britain over this continent. Great Britain. the trade of America goes to ruin. will be the cause of more calamities to this Continent than all the other three. we should take our children in our hand. have now no other alternative than to stay and starve. was never the design of Heaven. and a certain set of moderate men who think better of the European world than it deserves. 'TIS TIME TO PART. and set us at variance with nations who would otherwise seek our friendship. is a form of government. the advocates for reconciliation now will be wishing for separation then. But the injuries and disadvantages which we sustain by that connection. Europe is too thickly planted with Kingdoms to be long at peace. we ought to form no partial connection with any part of it. It is the good fortune of many to live distant from the scene of present sorrow. under the painful and positive conviction that what he calls "the present constitution" is merely temporary. the weeping voice of nature cries. who are not to be trusted. we ought to do the work of it. well attended to. and against whom we have neither anger nor complaint. and fix our station a few years farther into life. which sooner or later must have an end: And a serious mind can draw no true pleasure by looking forward. Our corn will fetch its price in any market in Europe. Her trade will always be a protection. Interested men. As Europe is our market for trade. she is made the makeweight in the scale of British politics. not a single advantage is derived. The inhabitants of that unfortunate city who but a few months ago were in ease and affluence. tends directly to involve this Continent in European wars and quarrels. I repeat the challenge. when home should afford neither friendship nor safety. encreases the force of it. knowing that this government is not sufficiently lasting to ensure any thing which we may bequeath to posterity: And by a plain method of argument. and that. The Reformation was preceded by the discovery of America: As if the Almighty graciously meant to open a sanctuary to the persecuted in future years. The next war may not turn out like the last. by an ill-judged deliberation. yet I am inclined to believe. or dependence on. adds weight to the argument.Thomas Paine Besides. and her barrenness of gold and silver secure her from invaders. we can have no joy. are without number. as well as to ourselves. BECAUSE OF HER CONNECTION WITH BRITAIN. and our duty to mankind at large. otherwise we use them meanly and pitifully. because it is the interest of all Europe to have America a free port. 17 . In order to discover the line of our duty rightly. that all those who espouse the doctrine of reconciliation. prejudiced men who will not see. weak men who CANNOT see. and whenever a war breaks out between England and any foreign power. what have we to do with setting the world at defiance? Our plan is commerce. It is the true interest of America to steer clear of European contentions. may be included within the following descriptions. and this last class. instruct us to renounce the alliance: because. will secure us the peace and friendship of all Europe. in their present situation they are prisoners without the hope of redemption. Even the distance at which the Almighty hath placed England and America is a strong and natural proof that the authority of the one over the other. and our imported goods must be paid for buy them where we will. as we are running the next generation into debt. Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary offence. and instruct us for ever to renounce a power in whom we can have no trust. that seat of wretchedness will teach us wisdom. The blood of the slain. I challenge the warmest advocate for reconciliation to show a single advantage that this continent can reap by being connected with Great Britain. that eminence will present a prospect which a few present fears and prejudices conceal from our sight. because neutrality in that case would be a safer convoy than a man of war. or turn out to beg. the evil is not sufficiently brought to their doors to make them feel the precariousness with which all American property is possessed. and in a general attack for their relief they would be exposed to the fury of both armies. As parents. But let our imaginations transport us a few moments to Boston. and the manner in which it was peopled. by her dependence on Britain.

honour. and intricate. or what. friend or lover. will in a little time fall into a relapse more wretched than the first. and by your delay bringing ruin upon posterity. The present winter is worth an age if rightly employed. © The Electronic Books Foundation 18 . which can promise the continent even a year's security. Your future connection with Britain. by a power. will in a few years be looked upon as folly and childishness — There was a time when it was proper. that this continent can longer remain subject to any external power. and. and the spirit of a sycophant. father." But examine the passions and feelings of mankind: bring the doctrine of reconciliation to the touchstone of nature. and there is no punishment which that man will not deserve. and faithfully serve the power that hath carried fire and sword into your land? If you cannot do all these. for if they cannot conquer us. then are you unworthy the name of husband. Small islands not capable of protecting themselves. Reconciliation is now a falacious dream. It is not in the power of Britain or of Europe to conquer America. that nothing flatters vanity. come. This is not inflaming or exaggerating matters. and being formed only on the plan of present convenience. and without which. the whole continent will partake of the misfortune. But if you have. it is evident they belong to different systems: England to Europe. for God's sake. hath your house been burnt? Hath your property been destroyed before your face? Are your wife and children destitute of a bed to lie on. at this time. that we may pursue determinately some fixed object. under the violated unmeaning names of parent and child. or confirms obstinacy in Kings more than repeated petitioning — and nothing hath contributed more than that very measure to make the Kings of Europe absolute: Witness Denmark and Sweden. and then tell me whether you can hereafter love. waiting four or five months for an answer. yet a year or two undeceived us. you can still pass the violations over. and yourself the ruined and wretched survivor? If you have not. to be managed with any tolerable degree of convenience. then I ask. we thought so at the repeal of the stamp act. To be always running three or four thousand miles with a tale or a petition. as Milton wisely expresses. are apt to call out. Nature hath deserted the connexion. or bread to live on? Have you lost a parent or a child by their hands. Our prayers have been rejected with disdain. whom you can neither love nor honour." Every quiet method for peace hath been ineffectual. compass a plan short of separation. "never can true reconcilement grow where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep. But if you say. but to awaken us from fatal and unmanly slumbers. For. As to government matters.Common Sense Men of passive tempers look somewhat lightly over the offences of Great Britain. and so very ignorant of us. or where he will. then are you only deceiving yourselves. It is repugnant to reason. America to itself. still hoping for the best. we should be incapable of discharging the social duties of life. which have been once defeated. but trying them by those feelings and affections which nature justifies. "Come. since nothing but blows will do. and there is a proper time for it to cease. you have the heart of a coward. then are you not a judge of those who have. To say. are the proper objects for kingdoms to take under their care. so distant from us. and only tended to convince us. The utmost stretch of human wisdom cannot. be he who. Wherefore. let us come to a final separation. and can still shake hands with the murderers. and whatever may be your rank or title in life. I mean not to exhibit horror for the purpose of provoking revenge. we shall be friends again for all this. but there is something very absurd. The most sanguine in Britain does not think so. will be forced and unnatural. to the universal order of things to all examples from former ages. as well may we suppose that nations. with respect to each other. In no instance hath nature made the satellite larger than its primary planet. and not leave the next generation to be cutting throats. reverses the common order of nature. in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island. they cannot govern us. it is not in the power of Britain to do this continent justice: The business of it will soon be too weighty. or enjoying the felicities of it. and Art cannot supply her place. which when obtained requires five or six more to explain it in. but if lost or neglected. that may be the means of sacrificing a season so precious and useful. if she do not conquer herself by delay and timidity. will never renew the quarrel. they will never attempt it again is idle and visionary. to suppose. and as England and America.

We may be as effectually enslaved by the want of laws in America. he will have a negative over the whole legislation of this continent. as not to know. that England being the King's residence. that it can afford no lasting felicity. I forbid this or that act of yours to be law. and America not so. shall tell us. and disdain the wretch. A temporary stoppage of trade. for in a just estimation. which would have sufficiently balanced the repeal of all the acts complained of. As I have always considered the independency of this continent. that a youth of twenty-one (which hath often happened) shall say to several millions of people. whether the king. that (considering what has happened) he will suffer no law to be made here. and composedly sleep with their blood upon his soul. if every man must be a soldier. which sooner or later must arrive. as an event. would have rendered this continent the glory of the earth. Dearly. or resentment to espouse the doctrine of separation and independence. No man was a warmer wisher for reconciliation than myself. As Britain hath not manifested the least inclination towards a compromise. for independency means no more. as by submitting to laws made for us in England. to regulate the trespasses of a tenant. "You shall make no laws but what I please. the ruin of the continent. sullen tempered Pharaoh of England for ever. on the breaking out of hostilities. make quite another case. which time would have finally redressed. can unfeelingly hear of their slaughter. unless we meant to be in earnest. "there shall be no laws but such as I like. when. — that it is leaving the sword to our children. And as he hath shewn himself such an inveterate enemy to liberty. After matters are made up (as it is called) can there be any doubt.Thomas Paine I am not induced by motives of pride. what would be the event? I answer. and shrinking back at a time. but if the whole continent must take up arms. and in America he would never suffer such a bill to be passed. had such repeals been obtained. I am clearly. the event could not be far off. The object. there is something very ridiculous. to keep this continent as low and humble as possible? Instead of going forward we shall go backward. for there he will scarcely refuse his consent to a bill for putting England into as strong a state of defence as possible. a proper man to say to these colonies. that with the pretended title of FATHER OF HIS PEOPLE. or be perpetually quarrelling or ridiculously petitioning. and only answer. that according to what is called the present constitution. The king's negative here is ten times more dangerous and fatal than it can be in England. than. The powers of governing still remaining in the hands of the king. But admitting that matters were now made up. and will he not hereafter endeavour to make us less? To bring the matter to one point. positively. it is like wasting an estate on a suit at law. older and wiser than himself. it was not worth the while to have disputed a matter. do we pay for the repeal of the acts. if that is all we fight for. — We are already greater than the king wishes us to be. so from the late rapid progress of the continent to maturity. Wherefore. otherwise. dearly. though I will never cease to expose the absurdity of it. a proper power to govern us? Whoever says No to this question is an independent. it is scarcely worth our while to fight against a contemptible ministry only. and conscientiously persuaded that it is the true interest of this continent to be so. whether we shall make our own laws. and is there any man so unwise. In point of right and good order. ought always to bear some just proportion to the expense." But the king you will say has a negative in England. And that for several reasons. but the whole power of the crown will be exerted. The removal of North. or. is he. party. First. that this continent can make no laws but what the king gives it leave to. the people there can make no laws without his consent." And is there any inhabitant in America so ignorant. was an inconvenience. a little more. or any ways equal to the expense of blood and treasure we have been already put to. as not to see. and discovered such a thirst for arbitrary power. it is as great a folly to pay a Bunker-hill price for law. is a matter unworthy the millions we have expended. or is he not. or the whole detestable junto. I rejected the hardened. as for land. before the fatal nineteenth of April 1775. we may be assured that no terms can be obtained worthy the acceptance of the continent. contended for. but the moment the event of that day was made known. 19 . but such as suit his purpose. But in this place I decline this sort of reply. or can have. the greatest enemy this continent hath. a little farther. whose lease is just expiring. that every thing short of that is mere patchwork. Is the power who is jealous of our prosperity.

(thousands more will probably suffer the same fate. as an opening into that business. many of whom I believe spoke without thinking.) Those men have other feelings than us who have nothing suffered. i. I could never relish the doctrine of reconciliation. It is but seldom that our first thoughts are truly correct. are never long at rest. they would frequently form materials for wise and able men to improve into useful matter. swells into a rupture with foreign powers. England consults the good of this country. and who is every day tottering on the brink of commotion and disturbance. © The Electronic Books Foundation 20 . All they now possess is liberty. in instances. I dread the event of a reconciliation with Britain now. to repeal the acts for the sake of reinstating himself in the government of the provinces. in the interim. That as even the best terms. that one colony will be striving for superiority over another. and having nothing more to lose. and quit the continent. I make the sufferers case my own. IN THE LONG RUN. fearing that it would produce civil wars. or a kind of government by guardianship. a continental form of government. and that degree of pride and insolence ever attendant on regal authority. they disdain submission. the consequences of which may be far more fatal than all the malice of Britain. Could the straggling thoughts of individuals be collected. on any other grounds. Besides. viz. as it is more than probable. that such as are truly childish and ridiculous. which can last no longer than till the colonies come of age. or in the least interferes with it. the general temper of the colonies. sensible of injuries. whose power will be wholly on paper. and pray what is it that Britain can do. who is nearly out of his time.Common Sense America is only a secondary object in the system of British politics. that nothing but independence. e. considering what has happened! Men do not change from enemies to friends by the alteration of a name: And in order to shew that reconciliation now is a dangerous doctrine. by being formed on more natural principles. and that is the case here. Thousands are already ruined by British barbarity. it is because no plan is yet laid down. and numbers of the present inhabitants would lay hold of the interval. should a civil tumult break out the very day after reconciliation? I have heard some men say. the crown itself is a temptation to enterprizing ruffians at home. than that they may be the means of giving rise to something better. and I protest. No man can assign the least pretence for his fears. A pretty state we should soon be in under such a second-hand government. in order that HE MAY ACCOMPLISH BY CRAFT AND SUBTILITY. is. what they before enjoyed is sacrificed to its service. will be like that of a youth. Holland and Swisserland are without wars. towards a British government. is no government at all. And a government which cannot preserve the peace. I offer the following hints. so the general face and state of things. WHAT HE CANNOT DO BY FORCE AND VIOLENCE IN THE SHORT ONE. The colonies have manifested such a spirit of good order and obedience to continental government. or consider myself bound thereby. I affirm. they will care very little about her. that they dreaded an independence. and in that case we pay our money for nothing. foreign or domestic: Monarchical governments. Where there are no distinctions there can be no superiority. at the same time modestly affirming. as is sufficient to make every reasonable person easy and happy on that head. that I have no other opinion of them myself. that it will followed by a revolt somewhere or other. that were I driven from house and home. where a republican government. Secondly. my property destroyed. which we can expect to obtain. can keep the peace of the continent and preserve it inviolate from civil wars. Wherefore. and my circumstances ruined. no farther than it answers her own purpose. her own interest leads her to suppress the growth of ours in every case which doth not promote her advantage. Men do not see their way out — Wherefore. can amount to no more than a temporary expedient. that as a man. The republics of Europe are all (and we may say always) in peace. it is true. But the most powerful of all arguments. would negotiate the mistake. If there is any true cause of fear respecting independence. Emigrants of property will not choose to come to a country whose form of government hangs but by a thread. Reconciliation and ruin are nearly related. to dispose of their effects. for there are ten times more to dread from a patched up connexion than from independence. will be unsettled and unpromising. perfect equality affords no temptation. that it would be policy in the king at this time.

21 . to be the legislators and governors of this continent for the time being: Whose peace and happiness. for. let a colony be taken by lot from twelve only. that in America THE LAW IS KING. so that each colony send at least thirty. the free exercise of religion. (answering to what is called the Magna Charta of England) fixing the number and manner of choosing members of Congress. the said Conference to dissolve. and the bodies which shall be chosen comformable to the said charter. and scattered among the people whose right it is. I offer them the following extracts from that wise observer on governments Dragonetti. after which. The representation more equal. Let each colony be divided into six. The whole number in Congress will be least 390. if more convenient. Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors. Their business wholly domestic. thus assembled. two for each colony. eight. who should discover a mode of government that contained the greatest sum of individual happiness. members of Assembly. let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter. and five representatives of the people at large. omitting that colony from which the president was taken in the former Congress. each district to send a proper number of delegates to Congress. according to the dictates of conscience. and as it seems most agreeable and consistent that it should come from some intermediate body between the governed and the governors. or ten. But lest any ill use should afterwards arise. will be united. not less than three fifths of the Congress to be called a majority. by as many qualified voters as shall think proper to attend from all parts of the province for that purpose. and there ought to be no other. and for the following purpose. will be able and useful counsellors. In the next Congress. let their business be to frame a CONTINENTAL CHARTER. And in order that nothing may pass into a law but what is satisfactorily just. Each Congress to sit and to choose a president by the following method. Those men would deserve the gratitude of ages. Immediately after which. Assemblies. the representatives may be chosen in two or three of the most populous parts thereof. viz. let a CONTINENTAL CONFERENCE be held. or Charter of the United Colonies. "The science" says he "of the politician consists in fixing the true point of happiness and freedom. this business must first arise. by having had experience in national concerns. and above all things. the two grand principles of business. with a President only. Two members for each House of Assembly. or. let the crown at the conclusion of the ceremony be demolished. would have joined Lucifer in his revolt. Should any body of men be hereafter delegated for this or some similar purpose. being impowered by the people. and so proceeding on till the whole thirteen shall have had their proper rotation. the word of God. convenient districts. — He that will promote discord. The conferring members being met. let a colony be taken from the whole thirteen colonies by lot. not provincial:) Securing freedom and property to all men. that is. by which the world may know. may God preserve.Thomas Paine Let the assemblies be annual. he reigns above. in the following manner." "Dragonetti on virtue and rewards. The members of Congress. that so far as we approve as monarchy. and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain. between the Congress and the people. from whom. But as there is a peculiar delicacy. so in free countries the law ought to be King. A committee of twenty-six members of Congress. or Conventions. with such other matter as is necessary for a charter to contain. and in behalf of the whole province. For as in absolute governments the King is law. knowledge and power. with the least national expense. and subject to the authority of a Continental Congress. to be chosen in the capital city or town of each province. let a crown be placed thereon. will have a truly legal authority. or Provincial Convention. under a government so equally formed as this. Amen. and the whole." But where says some is the King of America? I'll tell you Friend. that our strength is continental. or in what manner. In this conference. let the whole Congress choose (by ballot) a president from out of the delegates of that province. let it be brought forth placed on the divine law. with their date of sitting. When the delegates are met. and drawing the line of business and jurisdiction between them: (Always remembering.

The Almighty hath implanted in us these unextinguishable feelings for good and wise purposes. ye are opening a door to eternal tyranny. but the tyrant. © The Electronic Books Foundation 22 . did not the injuries which our tempers sustain. Every day wears out the little remains of kindred between us and them. The robber. and tens of thousands. There are thousands. the affection will increase. stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. or have only a casual existence were we callous to the touches of affection. which hath stirred up the Indians and Negroes to destroy us. would often escape unpunished. may sweep away the liberties of the continent like a deluge. not only the tyranny. and our affections wounded through a thousand pores instruct us to detest. and the murderer. Should the government of America return again into the hands of Britain. and England hath given her warning to depart. Massanello may hereafter arise. If we omit it now. O! receive the fugitive. by keeping vacant the seat of government.Common Sense A government of our own is our natural right: And when a man seriously reflects on the precariousness of human affairs. the cruelty hath a double guilt. Ye that oppose independence now. when we have ten times more and greater concerns to quarrel over than ever? Ye that tell us of harmony and reconciliation. will be a temptation for some desperate adventurer to try his fortune. or that we shall agree better. that as the relationship expires. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. to form a constitution of our own in a cool deliberate manner. and ourselves suffering like the wretched Britons under the oppression of the Conqueror. than to trust such an interesting event to time and chance. and by assuming to themselves the powers of government. who laying hold of popular disquietudes. what relief can Britain give? Ere she could hear the news. some. that it is infinitely wiser and safer. They distinguish us from the herd of common animals. To talk of friendship with those in whom our reason forbids us to have faith. have long expelled her. while we have it in our power. is madness and folly. They are the guardians of his image in our hearts. and justice be extirpated from the earth. O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose. — Europe regards her like a stranger. may collect together the desperate and discontented. she would cease to be nature if she did. the people of England are presenting addresses against us. and prepare in time an asylum for mankind. and Africa. it is dealing brutally by us. that barbarous and hellish power. There are injuries which nature cannot forgive. As well can the lover forgive the ravisher of his mistress. he will become convinced. who would think it glorious to expel from the continent. and in such a case. The last cord now is broken. ye know not what ye do. can ye restore to us the time that is past? Can ye give to prostitution its former innocence? Neither can ye reconcile Britain and America. and can there be any reason to hope. as the continent forgive the murders of Britain. provoke us into justice. the tottering situation of things. Asia. The social compact would dissolve. and treacherously by them. the fatal business might be done.

Source documents were obtained from Wikisource and Gutenberg.freeforums.org Grammar and Spell Check by Adhithya Rajasekaran If you don’t find a work. A Special thanks to Ushistory.Forum or Email Request Tracker http://ebfoundation.html Email ambarathoni@gmail.com/ambarathooni http://scribd.com/ebfoundation All the works published by the Electronic Books Foundation are in the publicdomain in United States and its Territories. you can request it in two ways . So all of these publication arerecommended only to the Citizens and the permanent residents of UnitedStates.com 23 .com http://ambarathoonifoundation. Sri Madhavi Rajasekaran. Layouts and effects by Adhithya Rajasekaran Common Sense was written in 1776.blogspot.org.freeforums.org/make-a-request-f21. Processed and Published by the Electronic Books Foundation a part of the Ambarathooni Foundation.com You can access our archive at http://ebfoundation. Any foreigner downloading these documents are requested to beaware of the Copyright laws of the country and laws regarding public domainbefore accessing these documents. please visit http://ambarathooni. To know more about Ambarathooni Foundation.Thomas Paine Credits Common Sense was written by Thomas Paine(1737-1809) Currently in the Public Domain. Archived.blogspot.org http://scribd. Archived by the efforts of the Adhithya Rajasekaran. Renuka Rajasekaran.

and introduced the concept of a guaranteed minimum income. He has been called "a corsetmaker by trade. in particular the British statesman Edmund Burke. then released in 1794. In Great Britain. in part a defence of the French Revolution against its critics. He wrote the Rights of Man (1791). inventor. the Montagnards. calling him "the completest charlatan that ever existed". he was arrested and imprisoned in Paris. radical. his book that advocates deism. in the English county of Norfolk. at President Jefferson's invitation. He became notorious because of The Age of Reason (1793–94). pamphleteer. Paine remained in France during the early Napoleonic era. He also wrote the pamphlet Agrarian Justice (1795). and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was deeply involved in the early stages of the French Revolution. In 1802. a prorevolutionary pamphlet series. especially Robespierre. Age of Reason in Electronic Books Foundation archives © The Electronic Books Foundation 24 . 1737 – June 8. 1809. Paine emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 in time to participate in the American Revolution. regarded him as an enemy. argues against institutionalized religion and Christian doctrines. intellectual. In December of 1793. "Without the pen of the author of 'Common Sense.” In 1789 Paine visited France. Despite not speaking French." Born in Thetford. revolutionary. so. The Crisis 2. The Rights of Man 3. promotes reason and freethinking. but condemned Napoleon's dictatorship. and a propagandist by inclination. and The American Crisis (1776–1783). the all-time best-selling American book that advocated colonial America's independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. he was elected to the French National Convention in 1792. His writing of "Common Sense" was so influential that John Adams reportedly said. for this publication he was later tried and convicted in absentia for the crime of seditious libel. Only six people attended his funeral as he had been ostracized due to his criticism and ridicule of Christianity. and lived there for much of the following decade. Other Works of Paine 1.' the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.Common Sense About Thomas Paine Thomas "Tom" Paine (February 9. The Girondists regarded him as an ally. 1809) was an author. a journalist by profession. he returned to America where he died on June 8. His principal contributions were the powerful. widely read pamphlet Common Sense (1776). discussing the origins of property.

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