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In Common Sense, what advantages did Thomas Paine say the colonists had over the...

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kelsssss | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 30, 2012 at 10:02 AM via web

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In Common Sense, what advantages did Thomas Paine say the colonists had over the British in an armed conflict?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 30, 2012 at 11:28 AM (Answer #1)

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First, Paine argues that the colonies have strength in unity, which, frankly, he may have overstated, particularly in the southern colonies. Nevertheless, he argues that the Americans had enough unity in purpose to fight off the British:

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 Continent hath, at this time, the largest body of armed and disciplined men of any power under Heaven...

In addition, Paine argues that the colonies are rich in the raw materials needed to conduct a war, and indeed to maintain independence, including iron, saltpeter, and hemp. The colonies also have, he argues, enough skilled craftsmen to cast cannons and make weapons to supply a powerful military force. But above all, the colonists were fighting for a cause, where the English soldiers were conscripts and hirelings for a "royal brute."

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