What are the similarities in theme between the Declaration of Independence and "Common Sense"?



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jpope1's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

Thomas Paine wrote "Common Sense" in January of 1776 as a rallying cry to convince colonists to break from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson in July of 1776, in the middle of the Revolutionary War.

Both the Declaration of Independence and the pamphlet "Common Sense" discuss independence from Great Britain. Both enumerate the offenses that Britain had committed against the North American colonies, including over-taxation and suppressing colonial interests in Parliament. 

Both documents discuss the colonies' self-interest in breaking from Great Britain. Paine stated in "Common Sense" that he knows "not a single advantage this continent can reap" by British rule. Likewise, Thomas Jefferson noted in the Declaration that a new form of government would be more conducive to colonists' "safety and happiness." 

thanatassa's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)

Both the Declaration of Independence and Common Sense by Thomas Paine are products of the Enlightenment. In religion, they are fundamentally deistic, accepting a model of religion in which a Creator has endowed humans with reason and a moral sense, but not advocating any specific set of religious beliefs, and instead grounding their arguments in reason based on what they consider self-evident principles.

Both documents assume a form of social contract, in which governments are not inherently endowed with power but instead govern with the consent of the governed, and can and should be replaced when they no longer serve their citizens.

Both documents emphasize that the Colonies had made every effort to reconcile with the King of England, but argue that the English monarchy is unresponsive to the needs of its citizens in the Colonies and attempts to deprive them of their fundamental rights as humans. Both documents advocate independence for the nascent United States.


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