Jones 1 Noah Jones Mrs. Whitehead English II 22 February 2016 Sparking a Revolution During the latter part of the 18th century, American colonists were engaged in one of the most tactical and gruesome wars the world had ever seen. Since the colonists first arrived in America in 1620-21, Great Britain had ruled them with an iron fist. Dictating virtually every aspect of the colonists’ lives, the British Monarch taxes as he wished, ignored any legislature in the colonies, raised standing armies in times of peace, and refused to abide by his own laws. Moreover, King George III ignored the colonists’ repeated attempts to settle issues diplomatically through the First and Second Continental Congresses, and refused to acknowledge the Olive Branch Petition. It is important to note why the colonists fled Europe. From the reign of King James II to King George III, the British were forced to convert to Catholicism. To add to their oppression, British citizens faced unfathomable tax rates and poor living conditions. In order to freely practice their religious beliefs, Europeans sought refuge in America. After the king continued to abuse his powers and break charters, the colonists had only one option remaining: to enter war with Great Britain. However, very few Americans were in favor of the revolution. Divided into two groups, the Patriots and Loyalists, neighbors were forced to fight and kill each other for their own safety. Between 1775-1787, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense , Thomas
Jones 2 Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, and Benjamin Franklin’s “Speech in the Convention” began to turn the views of many loyalists through books and speeches which questioned British authority and proposed new radical ideas. Published anonymously in the heat of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense became an immediate sensation on January 10, 1776. Common Sense was the first text of its kind, a political pamphlet structured like a sermon which relied on Biblical references to engage the everyday citizen. In addition, Paine used plain and simple language to attract all types of people, regardless of education. Common Sense was the first proposal for a new system of government to replace the British rule over the colonies, while thoroughly explaining why at least some form of government is a necessity. In the beginning of the pamphlet, Paine wrote,” Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil’ in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or we are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer”(Paine 7). Before introducing his plan for government, Thomas Paine elucidated why government is a ‘necessary evil’. Paine states that government can be good or
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