Tim Floyd's Reviews > Common Sense and Other Writings

Common Sense and Other Writings by Thomas Paine
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Jun 06, 2012

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This book was a collection of writings by Thomas Paine (an early supporter of the American quest for independence), I loved the background story to Paine's experience & writings. The portion of the book I'm choosing to focus this review on is his writing called Common Sense, a paper on why Paine thinks America should be free from the grips of England. I found his arguments both persuasive and uncomfortable at times. I can definitely see why it wasn't very well received by the Crown. There are a number of quotes I found to be relevant & interesting, I thought I'd share some of my favorites.

Page 38: "Small islands not capable of protecting themselves are proper objects for government to take under their care; but there is some thing absurd, in supposing a Continent to be perpetually governed by an island."

Page 54: "The more men have to lose, the less willing are they to venture. The rich are in general slaves to fear, and submit to courtly power with the trembling of duplicity of a spaniel."

Page 54: "Most nations have let slip the opportunity, and by that means have been compelled to receive laws from their conquerors, instead of making laws for themselves."
~ What a thrilling time it must have been in to create, from scratch, what you wanted to become.

Page 55: "As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith...For myself, I fully and conscientiously believe, that it is the will of the Almighty that there should be a diversity of religious opinions among us. It affords a larger field for our Christian kindness; were we all of one way of thinking, our religious dispositions would want matter for probation; and on this liberal principle I look on the various denominations among us, to be like children of the same family, differing only in what is called their Christian names."
~ I really respect this view on religion, I wish more people had this sort of tolerance for religion & religious views.

Page 64: "Wherefore, instead of gazing at each other with suspicious or doubtful curiosity, let each of us, hold out to his neighbor the hearty hand of friendship, and unite in drawing a line, which like an act of oblivion, shall bury in forgetfulness every former dissension. Let the names of Whig and Tory [and I suggest Democrat & Republican] be extinct; and let none other be heard among us, than those of a good citizen, and open and resolute friend, and a virtuous supporter of the RIGHTS of MANKIND and of the FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES OF AMERICA."
~ What a perspective on diversity & tolerance of different political views! Sometimes I feel like say this to people to get stuck in the rut of their political close mindedness, myself included at times.

In all, I found Paine to be a refreshing reminder of America's potential. Have we become what he hoped? Have we taken advantage of the possibilities set before us? Are we now at risk of having given too much power and authority to our President that Monarchial tendencies are starting to show itself? Common Sense and the other writings of Thomas Paine is an excellent book to remind America where we've come from & what our potential could still become.

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June 6, 2012 – Shelved
June 6, 2012 – Finished Reading

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