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The Nervous System
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Hypothesis and Theory ARTICLE
This article is also available for rental through DeepDyve. Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived. The constitutional monarchy, according to Locke, would limit the powers of the king sufficiently to ensure that the realm would remain lawful rather than easily becoming tyrannical. According to Paine, however, such limits are insufficient. In the mixed state, power will tend to concentrate into the hands of the monarch, permitting him eventually to transcend any limitations placed upon him.
Paine questions why the supporters of the mixed state, since they concede that the power of the monarch is dangerous, wish to include a monarch in their scheme of government in the first place. In the third section Paine examines the hostilities between England and the American colonies and argues that the best course of action is independence.
Paine writes that a Continental Charter "should come from some intermediate body between the Congress and the people" and outlines a Continental Conference that could draft a Continental Charter. These five would be accompanied by two members of the assembly of colonies, for a total of seven representatives from each colony in the Continental Conference. The Continental Conference would then meet and draft a Continental Charter that would secure "freedom and property to all men, and… the free exercise of religion".
Frontiers | Perceptual Categories Derived from Reid’s “Common Sense” Philosophy | Psychology
Paine suggested that a congress may be created in the following way: each colony should be divided in districts; each district would "send a proper number of delegates to Congress". The Congress would meet annually, and elect a president. Each colony would be put into a lottery; the president would be elected, by the whole congress, from the delegation of the colony that was selected in the lottery.
After a colony was selected, it would be removed from subsequent lotteries until all of the colonies had been selected, at which point the lottery would start anew. Electing a president or passing a law would require three-fifths of the congress. The fourth section of the pamphlet includes Paine's optimistic view of America's military potential at the time of the revolution. For example, he spends pages describing how colonial shipyards, by using the large amounts of lumber available in the country, could quickly create a navy that could rival the Royal Navy.
Due to heavy advertisement by both Bell and Paine, and the immense publicity created by their publishing quarrel, Common Sense was an immediate sensation not only in Philadelphia but also across the Thirteen Colonies. Early "reviewers" mainly letter excerpts published anonymously in colonial newspapers touted the clear and rational case for independence put forth by Paine. His stile [ sic ] is plain and nervous; his facts are true; his reasoning, just and conclusive".
This mass appeal, one later reviewer noted, was due to Paine's dramatic calls for popular support of revolution, "giv[ing] liberty to every individual to contribute materials for that great building, the grand charter of American Liberty". In the months leading up to the Declaration of Independence , many more reviewers noted that these two main themes—direct and passionate style and calls for individual empowerment—were decisive in swaying the Colonists from reconciliation to rebellion. The pamphlet was also highly successful because of a brilliant marketing tactic planned by Paine.
He and Bell timed the first edition to be published at around the same time as a proclamation on the colonies by King George III , hoping to contrast the strong, monarchical message with the heavily anti-monarchical Common Sense. While Paine focused his style and address towards the common people, the arguments he made touched on prescient debates of morals, government, and the mechanisms of democracy. Paine's formulation of "war for an idea" led to, as Eric Foner describes it, "a torrent of letters, pamphlets, and broadsides on independence and the meaning of republican government John Adams , who would succeed George Washington to become the new nation's second president, in his Thoughts on Government wrote that Paine's ideal sketched in Common Sense was "so democratical, without any restraint or even an attempt at any equilibrium or counter poise, that it must produce confusion and every evil work".
Writing as "The Forester", he responded to Cato and other critics in the pages of Philadelphian papers with passion, declaring again in sweeping language that their conflict was not only with Great Britain, but with the tyranny inevitably resulting from monarchical rule. Later scholars have assessed Common Sense's influence in several ways. Some, like A. Owen Aldridge, emphasize that Common Sense could hardly be said to embody a particular ideology, and that "even Paine himself may not have been cognizant of the ultimate source of many of his concepts", making the point that much of the pamphlet's value came as a result of the context in which it was published.
Each of these arguments is in some way true, and together they portray Common Sense as an impressive piece of propaganda advocating a distinct and timely action and set of principles. Coupling this with the immense publicity and readership created by both the publishing dispute and the newspaper debates establishes Common Sense as an important stepping stone towards independence.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the concept, see Common sense. For other uses, see Common Sense disambiguation. Pennsylvania Historical Marker. Journal of the American Revolution. Retrieved 22 January Wilson and William F. Hall, , pp. Common Sense p.
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Thomas Paine. Headstrong Club.
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