What did Thomas Paine argue in Common Sense and what impact did it have on the colonists?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In a sense, any discussion about the impact of Common Sense by Thomas Paine is rather like the problem of whether the chicken or egg came first. Common Sense was well-received by those already supporting the cause of independence for the American colonies. It may have changed the minds of some people and helped shape the form of government agreed upon by the former colonies, but for a work to be well-received it usually must be the case that the ground has been well-prepared and public sentiment already in favor of its ideas.

The central argument of Common Sense by Thomas Paine is that British rule in North America was unjust and irrational, and that the colonies should become independent. Associated with this are arguments against Britain's "mixed" constitution, arguing that it is an historical legacy rather than a rational form of government. Paine set forth many strong arguments against hereditary monarchy. Paine also argued that the colonies were in a strong position to achieve independence and to prosper as an independent nation.

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Common Sense

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