Compare the backgrounds of Jefferson and Paine; did Paine have an advantage or disadvantage by not being born in the colonies? Explain.

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thetall | (Level 3) Educator

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Paine was born to a poor family and abandoned his pursuit for education at age 13. Jefferson, on the other hand, was an adept scholar and was raised in a wealthy family. Paine was forced to work low paying jobs which forced him to move a lot. Jefferson inherited much of his wealth from his parents and moved around mostly in pursuit of knowledge.

Paine’s birth outside the colonies should be viewed as an advantage especially with regards to the American and even the French revolution. This is because it was during his time in Great Britain that he nurtured his character to fight for the oppressed. He started by agitating for better pay and working conditions when he worked as an excise officer. His enlightenment ideals also forced him to question the authority of the British monarchy. When he arrived in America he played an instrumental role in inspiring the rebels to officially sever ties with Great Britain, through his work Common Sense. His upbringing in Great Britain raised his awareness to the issues of the monarchy, where authority was hereditary and not as a matter of consent by the governed.


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