Read Common Sense by Thomas Paine Free Online
Book Title: Common Sense|
The author of the book: Thomas Paine
Date of issue: January 27th 2006
ISBN 13: 9780977798209
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 343 KB
Edition: Big Fish Publishing Inc
Read full description of the books Common Sense:"Time makes more converts than reason." – Thomas Paine
And with that early quote, this reader steadily became enthralled with a founding father. I sincerely wish this novella-sized essay had been required reading while I was still in high school—or at any point in my education, for that matter.
(Okay, if I'm being honest, my teenage self wanted history explained something like this...)
But seriously... the read I thought was going to be a necessary slog turned out to be not only insightful, but genuinely entertaining. Laden with passionate wisdom, scathing wit, and intellectual wherewithal, it's little wonder this renowned 'pamphlet' became the rallying cry for American independence from Britain. Paine was as bold as he was brilliant. In the context of his time period, it's fascinating to realize he was committing treason by laying out this multi-layered argument calling for revolution. And he did so without apology.
(In fact, there were numerous points where one can't help but suppose Paine was offering the British monarchy the literary equivalent of his middle finger.)
* “Male and female are distinctions of nature, good and bad the distinctions of heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth enquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or misery.”
* “Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens, from whom the children of Israel copied the custom. It was the most prosperous invention of the Devil ever set on foot for the promotion of idolatry. The Heathens paid divine honors to their deceased kings, and the christian world hath improved on the plan by doing the same to their living ones. How impious is the title of sacred majesty applied to a worm, who in the midst of splendor is crumbling to dust!”
* “One of the strongest NATURAL proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, is, that nature disapproves it, otherwise, she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ASS FOR A LION.” (emphasis is mine.)
* “Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.”
* “In short, monarchy and succession have laid (not this or that kingdom only) but the world in blood and ashes. Tis a form of government which the word of God bears testimony against, and blood will attend it.”
* “Of more worth is one honest man to society and the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.”
This is pretty much what he was getting at, in a nutshell:
I was also somewhat surprised to find that a noteworthy chunk of Paine's reasoning came out of a solid contextual grasp of scripture, along with a propensity for calling out those who'd twisted or withheld it for their own purposes.
* “As exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified on the equal rights of nature, so neither can it be defended on the authority of scripture; for the will of the Almighty, as declared by Gideon and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of government by kings.”
* “That the Almighty hath here entered his protest against monarchical government is true, or the scripture is false. And a man hath good reason to believe that there is as much king-craft, as priest-craft, in withholding the scripture from the public in Popish countries. For monarchy in every instance is the Popery of government.”
Outspoken political revolutionary. Champion of equality. Solicitor of common sense. Thomas Paine is a true national treasure—an intrepid man whose tongue be both silver and sharp.
Okay...so, it's possible I've developed a small crush on a guy who died 200 years ago. >.>
I only regret that I didn't get to this piece of work sooner. It's put me in a mood to brush up on American History. :)
Read information about the authorThomas Paine was an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called "a corset maker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination".
Born in Thetford, England, in the county of Norfolk, Paine emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 with the help of Benjamin Franklin, arriving just in time to participate in the American Revolution. His principal contributions were the powerful, widely read pamphlet Common Sense (1776), the all-time best-selling American book that advocated colonial America's independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and The American Crisis (1776–83), a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series. Common Sense was so influential that John Adams said, "Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain."
Paine lived in France for most of the 1790s, becoming deeply involved in the French Revolution. He wrote the Rights of Man (1791), in part a defence of the French Revolution against its critics. His attacks on British writer Edmund Burke led to a trial and conviction in absentia in 1792 for the crime of seditious libel. In 1792, despite not being able to speak French, he was elected to the French National Convention. The Girondists regarded him as an ally. Consequently, the Montagnards, especially Robespierre, regarded him as an enemy.
In December 1793, he was arrested and imprisoned in Paris, then released in 1794. He became notorious because of his pamphlet The Age of Reason (1793–94), in which he advocated deism, promoted reason and freethinking, and argued against institutionalized religion in general and Christian doctrine in particular. He also wrote the pamphlet Agrarian Justice (1795), discussing the origins of property, and introduced the concept of a guaranteed minimum income. In 1802, he returned to America where he died on June 8, 1809. Only six people attended his funeral as he had been ostracized for his ridicule of Christianity.
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