Merry Packard Gravett's Reviews > Common Sense

Common Sense by Thomas Paine
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Oct 19, 11

bookshelves: 2011, genre-classics, genre-history
Read on October 19, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Wow! I had no idea that Common Sense was so interesting! There were some points of logic that I didn't quite agree with, but for the most part I liked what Paine said. What I didn't like was that he tries to present his ideas as purely common sense and that every person who can reason will agree with him; however, I found that he included quite a bit of rhetoric that was purely emotional. I think he was much more biased than he gave himself credit for.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the pamphlet:

p. 18 “’Tis not the affair of a day, a year, or an age; posterity are virtually involved in the contest, and will be more or less affected, even to the end of time, by the proceedings now.” I like that Paine says that they were deciding not just for themselves but for their posterity.

p. 22 “As parents, we can have no joy, 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, as we are running the next generation into debt, we ought to do the work of it, otherwise we use them meanly and pitifully.”

p. 24 “The present wither is worth an age if rightly employed, but if lost or neglected, the whole continent will partake of the misfortune; and there is no punishment which that man will not deserve, be he who, or what, or where he will, that may be the means of sacrificing a season so precious and useful.”

p. 29 “If there is any true cause of fear respecting independence, it is because no plan is yet laid down.”

p. 31 “But where say some is the King of America? I’ll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doeth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain. Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed threon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS KING.”

p. 37 “We are not the little people now, which we were sixty years ago; at that time we might have trusted our property in the streets, or fields rather; and slept securely without locks or bolts to our doors or windows. The case now is altered, and our methods of defence, ought to improve with our increase of property.”

p. 40 “Youth is the seed time of good habits, as well in nations as in individuals. It might be difficult, if not impossible, to form the Continent into one government half a century hence.”

p. 41 “As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensible duty of all government, to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith.”

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