Monday, October 18, 2010

"Common Sense" Criticism

So, Thomas Paine could just have easily made this paper about three sentences by saying something along the lines of, "I hate all people because they are stupid and make stupid rules, and it would be so much easier if everyone would just have some sense about them." Obviously, because of time constraints and my general lack of wanting to read the entire article, I only read the section that was assigned to me in class. In just that part, Paine is destroying the King of England because he is creating ridiculous rules and enforcing them in unfair ways, usually benefitting himself or his friends. "This shall be the manner of the king that shall reign over you; he will take your sons and appoint them for himself for his chariots, and to be his horsemen, and some shall run before his chariots and he will appoint him captains over thousands and captains over fifties, and will set them to ear his ground and to read his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots; and he will take your daughters to be confectionaries and to be cooks and to be bakers and he will take your fields and your olive yards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants; and he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give them to his officers and to his servants and he will take the tenth of your men servants, and your maid servants, and your goodliest young men and your asses, and put them to his work; and he will take the tenth of your sheep, and ye shall be his servants, and ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen." (Paine). Do you see it now? Paine is complaining that the kings are dictoral and completely one-sided - that is, he is always on his own side. Living in a time like that would certainly upset me as well, so I really cannot blame Thomas Paine for writing this. However, I can certainly blame him for making it the full twenty one thousand, five hundred words it is. Honestly, I think the man could have gotten his point across just as well by limiting himself to maybe one or two thousand words, but this style is part of the time period because, for some reason, Rationalists decided it be important to overly explain every tiny detail. As I pointed out before, Paine clearly uses plenty of support for his ideas because of the stories and accounts he gives with each point. Amidst the quote mentioned earlier is a story of the Bible character, Samuel, where he is spreading the word of his Lord. Connecting to the quotation, also, is the idea that God is, too, against monarchial government. In fact, Paine directly conveys this idea by saying, "That the Almighty hath here entered his protest against monarchial government is true, or the scripture is false." (Paine). So, apparently, just in the section I read, Paine displayed two ways of support: by blatantly saying what must be said and by supporting what should be said with a more or less "real" account of the matter.

Works Cited

Paine, Thomas. "Thomas Paine's 'Common Sense' - Text Version." Archiving Early America. Ed. Don Vitale. 1996. Online. 19 Oct. 2010. .

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