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Sample literary analysis of “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine
In “Common Sense; Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs” written by Thomas Paine and available online at http://www.ushistory.org/paine/commonsense/sense4.htm the author asks the reader approach the situation described in the paper with objectivity and impartiality. For instance he addresses the predominant argument that American should be close to Britain because under the British rule American colonies flourished by noting that it is like telling that a child should not eat meat because it flourished on milk. He noted that the situation in America would be much better if European nations did not exert any influence on America.
Paine meticulously challenges the status quo and pro-British opinion in his paper providing sound arguments and solutions. For instance, he noted that Britain protected American colonies for financial gain and that by being a colony of Great Britain America automatically was the enemy to all British enemies. It is no wonder that Britain had to protect its territories.
The ‘nationalist’ argument that America should be with Britain because many Americans are of British descent again does not hold water, otherwise, Britain, would have to submit to the rule of the French for the same reasons. There he notes that America does not get any benefit by being with Britain. He mentioned that British soldiers frequently stole American property.
Thomas Paine notes that American is too large and too complex to be governed by Britain especially after the battles and financial oppression that Britain imposed on America. After all, he argues it is perverse that a small island governs a large continent. He calls for immediate action noting that if action is not taken at present, it is the children of the present day citizens who will have to fight and risk their lives. He surely believes that this is not the legacy one should give to children of America (Paine, 751). While at some point of time he considered the possibility of reconciliation with Britain, after the battles of Lexington and Concord, he believes, the situation deteriorated to the point of no return (Paine, 747).
Ultimately, Thomas Paine sets up details on how the future government of American should look like. He comments on the congress and the president and recommends using “Continental conference” to create “continental charter” that will ultimately produce laws to guarantee fundamental rights of Americans. He calls for the creation of the US constitution that accumulates all fundamental laws. The last section calls for an action to break free from the British tyranny to enjoy all fundamental rights (Paine, 737).
Finally, one should note that Thomas Paine presents his arguments clearly using metaphors and vivid imagery. The metaphors make his ideas easy to understand and more appealing to the audience. The core of Paine’s argument is the notion that American cannot be a part of the British empire and cannot have friendly, subservient relationships with the British crown. He notes the unfairness through which Americans had to go through and how the British rule continued to oppress the colonists. A reasonable response from Americans is to break free from the tyranny to create a democratic and free state governed by the Congress and the President.
Paine, Thomas. From Common Sense; Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs.
http://www.ushistory.org/paine/commonsense/sense4.htm(Chapter 50, page 735 to 758 in Little, Brown Book)