How does Paine feel Americans were being enslaved?  

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samson98 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

American revolutionary and Enlightenment philosopher Thomas Paine was a strong advocate for the American War for Independence. Most notably, he drafted Common Sense, a pamphlet which laid out a brief, yet forceful, argument for war against Great Britain. Paine also wrote a series of newspaper articles collectively known as "The American Crisis."

In the first installment of "The American Crisis, published December 23, 1776, Paine alleges that the British are attempting to enslave the American colonists. He writes:

Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth.

In other words, Paine believes that since Great Britain has declared its supremacy over America and threatened to use coercive, violent action to maintain that supremacy, she is no different than a slave-owner who uses violence to maintain control of his slaves. Such coercive action, Paine says, is a power which can "belong only to God."

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