Thomas Paine; American Patriot



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Patriots wanted to declare independence, but they feared that the colonists were still loyal to the king. The public opinion started to change in 1776, when Thomas Paine published Common Sense. Many viewed Parliament as the enemy until Common Sense was published. Thomas Paine attacked the king and wrote that Parliament did nothing without the king’s support.

Below are three selected quotes from his pamphlet called Common Sense:

“One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, is, that nature disapproves it, otherwise, she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ass for a lion.”

“The more men have to lose, the less willing are they to venture.” 

“It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies; yet our present numbers are sufficient to repel the force of all the world”

The first quote is saying that it in nature things are balanced. Being born as a king is a joke in the natural law.  The king of the jungle is a lion who keeps things balanced. The king is suppose to keep things balanced in the food chain but King George is no lion. King George abuses his power and makes things unbalanced. The Patriots called King George the tyrant who abused his power and the founding fathers wanted to make a government where power was limited and balanced. The first plan they made the Articles of Confederation was too weak; the congress couldn’t do much and then they made a second plan called the U.S.Constitution that helped keep the power limited and balanced because it had three separate branches of government.

The second quote is saying that if a man has a reason to stay where he is; the man will not take risks. He does not want to lose what he has. The Loyalists had a reason to stay loyal to the king and the Neutralists and the Patriots had nothing to lose so they decided to create their own government.

The third quote is saying It doesn’t matter how many people we have; it matters if we can be joined as one to show our strengths and to show that the number of people we have; whether it is a lot of people or not; is enough power to form a government that will stand on its own.  I think it is interesting that our new country ended up being called the UNITED States of America.

In 1793, Thomas Paine was imprisoned in France for not approving the execution of Louis XVI. While Thomas Paine was in prison, he wrote the first part of The Age of Reason what became his most famous work at the time. It was known as the anti-church text. Thomas Paine was freed in 1794 thanks to the efforts of American diplomat James Monroe. He lived until 1809 and has been studied as a famous advocate of  people power (a.k.a Popular Sovereignty).

class text book page 71-73