Who offered most revolutionary critique of British form of Government, Thomas Paine's Common Sense or the Declaration of Independence?

1 Answer | Add Yours

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In my opinion, Thomas Paine's pamphlet offers by far a more revolutionary critique of the British form of government.  I would say that Jefferson criticizes the actions of the current British government while Paine criticizes the whole concept of monarchy and of British rule of the colonies.

If you read the Declaration, Jefferson is actually relatively mild on the idea of the monarchy.  He simply says that any government has to have the consent of the people and that it must protect the people's rights.  He does criticize the current king's actions, but doesn't say that monarchy is always horrible.

Paine, by contrast, really does say monarchy is always a bad idea.  He says that monarchy is simply wrong.  For example, he says

As the exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified on the equal rights of nature, so neither can it be defended on the authority of Scripture; for the will of the Almighty … expressly disapproves of government by kings….

When you say "God hates monarchy" it's a lot worse than what Jefferson is saying.

We’ve answered 317,376 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question