What are two arguments Thomas Paine wrote about in Common Sense that help convince the colonists to declare independence?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In his pamphlet Common Sense, Thomas Paine outlined a variety of arguments against British rule over the American colonies. These arguments, presented in a clear and straightforward manner easily accessible to colonial readers, helped greatly to sway those who were uncertain about the ideas of revolution and American independence.

One of the arguments made was an attack on the idea that as England was the "mother country" of the colonies, it was unthinkable for the colonies to rebel against her. While Paine did not accept England as the mother of the colonies outright, stating that the colonies were composed of peoples from various European backgrounds, he argued that England being the mother of the colonies only made the abuse of the colonists that must more abhorrent. It is the duty of a mother to nurture and care for her children, not to exploit them for personal gain.

Paine also argued that there were geographic conditions that necessitated the self-rule of the American colonies. He stated that it was absurd for an island to rule over a continent, particularly one so far removed. The distance between the colonies and England made English governance inherently unwieldy and inefficient. Communication with the bodies of government in England took so long that by the time the colonists received any response to their concerns it was possible that the situation would have changed to such an extent that the response no longer applied.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial