Explain why location is important to Thomas Paine and the American Revolution.

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samson98 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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In his highly-influential work, Common Sense, Thomas Paine includes location as one of the reasons the American colonies should declare and fight for independence from Great Britain. In the chapter “Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs,” Paine gives a number of specific reasons why geography indicates America and England should part ways. First, Paine asserts Europe is too crowded with nations to avoid warfare for long. As a part of England, Americans become involved in these wars and suffer some of their harmful effects (most notably a loss of trade with those nations which are enemies of England). Second, Paine argues that Nature has separated Great Britain and America and that “Art cannot supply her place.” Third, Paine remarks how backwards it seems for an island (England) to govern a continent (America). For these reasons, Thomas Paine believes the location of the American colonies indicate a need for permanent separation from Great Britain.

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