"Mutual fear is the principal link in the chain of mutual love, and woe be to that state that breaks the compact". What does this metaphor mean? 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Paine's pamphlet was meant to inspire the Colonists in the early stages of as challenging struggle.  Essentially, Paine sought to make the argument that early losses will "try" the spirits of the Colonists.  Yet, in keeping one's eyes fixated on a larger goal, Paine offered that there was value in continuing the fight. The particular quote is one such aspect of this.  Paine suggested that the reason for fighting against the British is reflective of the lack of equal relationship that exists between both nations.  Essentially, sacrificing the fight will mean a return to an unequal relationship, something that dooms the Colonists in their goal of equal footing with England.  Paine's emphasis in this section of the pamphlet is to ensure that the Colonists resist the temptation to not "see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them."  In this, Paine argues that the Colonists have to understand that the British hold no fundamental fear of them.  If they hope to see a relationship with England that holds "mutual love" or even respect, it must be predicated in an aspect of fear, something that the British lack.  It is for this reason that Paine's words are meant for the Colonists to "see" something larger, despite the early setbacks in the struggle.

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