Common Sense and The Declaration of Independence 

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After more than a year of the Revolutionary War, the United States Declaration of Independence was passed by the Second Continental Congress in Pennsylvania on July 4, 1776. With the assistance of The Declaration of Independence and Thomas Paine’s famous pamphlet, ‘Common Sense,’ both pieces of literature express the ideas behind the American Revolution. Today, those documents are important in comprehending the freedom that the United States continues to have.

Let us start from the beginning. With much frustration, a draft of the Declaration was written by Thomas Jefferson, which would later be edited and finalized by Congress. The Declaration of Independence was written to explain the philosophy the Thirteen Colonies adapted to become independent states. Wanting no part of the British rule any longer, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson hoped everyone would somehow understand the reasons as why they felt mistreated by Britain. They wanted man to be created equal in all elements.

The English immigrant, Thomas Paine would agree with those same ideals and eventually publish ‘Common Sense.’ The author would then play an important role on the road to independence. In Paine’s work, he first establishes the differences between society and the government. Throughout his literature, he states society is the constructive work in which people come together to accomplish the same goal. In contrast, Paine believed the government’s only purpose is to protect us from our incorrect behavior. As well as protect the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The author also believed the government should be judged only for how they accomplish such goals. Both works of literature, reflect the same ideals.

Although the Declaration of Independence was signed in July of 1776, Thomas Paine published his work in January of 1776. Upon his arrival to America, Paine went against the monarchy of Great Britain and argued in favor of colonial independence. Paine was advocating for a democratic nation rather than a monarchy. In the beginning, his work had not been given serious consideration amongst the American colonies. However, Paine connected the desired independence with Protestant beliefs to possibly identify America’s political identity (Pruitt). The connection allowed for public debate on the topic that few people had the courage to openly discuss prior to the publishing of his work. However, after some hesitation from the public, he was able to strengthen the support for independence.

In the Norton Anthology textbook on page 339, Paine states ‘The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.’ He pushes for a better, stronger America that will eventually have gained the respect of other countries, including Britain. Paine’s analysis continues by considering any actions made by America will surely affect everyone else in the world. He states, ‘A government of our own natural right: when a man seriously reflects on the precariousness of human affair…. while we have it in our power, than to trust such an interesting event to time and chance (Page 345).’ This method allows man to consider himself before society was formed, as well consider the greater possibilities that are equal for everyone. As well as consider how important it is to impact the nation and set the example for generations to come.

Fear was the most common reason colonies did not fight back with Great Britain. However, after the Townsend Act, Stamp Act, Boston Tea Party, and the Revolutionary War, colonists began to think differently. People found Paine’s denouncement of the monarchy, to be an attack on King George III. With that, he creates an initiative for Americans to stand up for themselves further. Without the nudge from Thomas Paine, it would have taken several more years until the thirteen colonies gained the support they needed.

Despite the economic opposition and opinions from John Adams, ‘Common Sense’ would become influential in Congress writing their story. In the ‘Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs,’ Paine presents the facts necessary to influence the decision in supporting and drafting the Declaration. He writes, ‘I challenge the warmest advocate for reconciliation to show a single advantage that this continent can reap by being connected with Great Britain. I repeat the challenge; not a single advantage derived. Our corn will fetch its price in any market in Europe, and our imported goods must be paid for buy them we will (Norton Pg. 342).’ With that being said, the Declaration of Independence echoed Paine’s theories. Both writings showed examples of how a King and its parliament can be dictators. In addition, both defended the right to question unjust laws. The thirteen colonies wanted to create their own laws, economy, and trade to enhance their belief in a government ‘created by people, for the people.’

Thomas Paine divided his pamphlet into four sections, almost creating an outline for Thomas Jefferson’s writing. The Declaration of Independence which is divided into five sections. It contains the preamble and holds the most important message. The preamble says, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed (US History).’ Those words would determine the fate of the nation and how it would further be seen. With the influence and popularity of Paine’s writing, Congress had no choice but to put the Declaration into vote. Along with the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the Declaration became one of the most significant documents in American history. It also became one of the most influential writings for those outside of the United States.

Thomas Paine’s writing influenced the abandonment of any possibility of a reconciliation with Britain after the way, strengthening the radical’s cause to create their own justly government. It is to be believed without the guidance of ‘Common Sense,’ the colonists would not have had the support to separate from Britain and the courage to start their own government.


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Common Sense and The Declaration of Independence . (2021, Mar 20). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/common-sense-and-the-declaration-of-independence/



Did Common Sense support independence?
Yes, Common Sense supported independence by advocating for the American colonies to break away from British rule and establish their own government based on democratic principles. It argued that it was common sense for the colonists to pursue independence and that it was necessary for their survival and prosperity.
How did Common Sense influence the Declaration of Independence quizlet?
Thomas Paine's Common Sense was published in early 1776 and quickly spread throughout the colonies. It was the first pamphlet to openly call for independence from Britain, and it helped to sway public opinion in favor of independence.
In what ways were the Declaration of Independence and Thomas Paines Common Sense similar?
The Declaration of Independence and Thomas Paines Common Sense were both written to inspire the people to fight for their independence from England.
What came first the Declaration of Independence or Common Sense?
Common Sense , 1776 With its strong arguments against monarchy, Common Sense paved the way for the Declaration of Independence more than any other single publication.
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