Essay on Thomas Paine

Submitted By beth_holden
Words: 691
Pages: 3

Beth Holden
Early American Lit Paper
February 23, 2014
Thomas Paine Thomas Paine lived from 1737 to 1809. He is remembered for his writings - such as Common Sense and The American Crisis. Paine was born in England, but after meeting Benjamin Franklin in 1774, he immigrated to Philadelphia. At this time in America, the colonies were still a part of England, but conflict was reaching a boiling point. Only 5 months after Paine moved to Philadelphia, these conflicts became violent, and war erupted. Paine did not just sit back and watch the Revolution come to life. He had a voice, and he used it to tell the colonists to fight. He did this through writing Common Sense, published in 1776 and The American Crisis, published in 1776-83. Thomas Paine was an English author, a patriot, and a very important leader to the colonists during the American Revolution. The way he presented himself and his ideas set him apart from any other writer at this time. Paine did not skirt around the answer like many others did, he was upfront and bold in what he had to say – revolt! One way Thomas Paine influenced early America was by sparking the idea of Revolution in his writings. Common Sense is even said to have paved the way for the Declaration of Independence. He did this by openly questioning the monarchy and talking about a new idea of government. In Common Sense he states, “Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour; a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.” Paine pleads with the people to stop accepting Britain’s monarchy just because it is all they’ve ever know. He is asking them to question its tactics and do something for the sake of change. Thomas Paine was the first man to not only question Britain, but ask others to do the same. This alone set him far apart from any other revolutionist at the time. Another virtue Paine had that set him aside was being able to get a large group of people to listen to him. He did this by using many persuasive devices to convince people to fight against Britain. One device he used was guilt. He would guilt these people into fighting by saying things like, “The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy.” Paine asks this in The American Crisis, how these people could live with themselves knowing they did nothing to