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Why should British subjects have rejected Paine's arguments in Common Sense and...

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kawaiichan92 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted March 13, 2012 at 2:32 PM via web

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Why should British subjects have rejected Paine's arguments in Common Sense and remained loyal to the British Empire?

In winter 1776, Thomas Paine's pamphlet "Common Sense" was read by many colonists in New York City and the question require me to write a response as a New York's citizen to explain that.


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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 13, 2012 at 2:44 PM (Answer #1)

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Common Sense is a relatively long tract and there can be many reasons to reject its arguments.  Let us look at two important reasons here.

First, there is no reason to suspect that a democracy will work better than a monarchy.  If we were living in 1776, we would have no contemporary examples of democracies to point to.  We could criticize Paine's idea that monarchy is artificial and that democracy was what existed in the state of nature.  There is no evidence for that and no real evidence that monarchy is not the natural state of things.  This is just Paine's conjecture as to what the world was originally like.

Second, on a practical level, we could reject Paine's claim that an independent country would be better off.  We could note that we rely on trade for many things and could argue that we might well be cut off from all trade if we no longer are part of Britain and if Britain and other countries practice mercantile policies.


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is00 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted March 13, 2012 at 3:51 PM (Answer #2)

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I think  ' the Divine Right theory '  of the British monarchy is the reason. In this regard it would be relevant to remember the chaos brought to the country by the civil wars and  the so  called parliamentary regime of Oliver Cromwell.This so called  ' Parliamentary rule of Cromwell' was just like a nightmare to the British people. Naturally there was enough propaganda against 'Democratic ideals and their practical applications'. Paine's arguments on Common sense' was unable to change the myth and thus the British subjects remain loyal to the Monarchy.


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