Common Sense by Thomas Paine, January 10, 1775



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Common Sense

by Thomas Paine, January 10, 1775


"We have boasted the protection of Great Britain without considering that her motive was interest, not attachment; that she did not protect us from our enemies on our account, but from her enemies on her own account...Let Britain wave her pretensions to the continent (America), or the continent, throw off the dependence and we should be at peace with France and Spain were they at war with Britain."
"America would have flourished as much, and probably much more had no European power taken any notice of her. The commerce by which she hath enriched herself are the necessaries of life, and will always have a market while eating is the custom of Europe...I challenge the warmest advocate of reconciliation to show a single advantage that this continent (America) can reap by being connected with Great Britain...The injuries and disadvantages we sustain by that connection are without number because any submission to or dependence on Great Britain tends directly to involve this continent in European wars and quarrels. As Europe is our market for trade we ought to form no political connection with any part of it...Europe is too thickly planted with kingdoms to be long at peace and whenever a war breaks out between England and any foreign power, the trade of America goes to ruin because of her connection with Britain.
"But Britain is the parent country say some. Then the more shame upon her conduct. Even brutes do not devour their young, nor savages make war upon their families...Europe and not England is the parent country of America. The New World hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe..."
"Even the distance at which the Almighty hath placed England and America is a strong and natural proof that the authority of the one over the other was never the design of heaven...There is something very absurd in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island. In no instance hath nature made the satellite larger than its primary planet and as England and America with respect to each other reverse the common order of nature, it is evident they belong to different systems. England to Europe; America to itself."

"Men of passive tempers look somewhat lightly over the offences of Britain and still hoping for the best are apt to call out "Come, come we shall be friends again for all this"...Can you hereafter love, honour, and faithfully serve the power that hath carried fire and sword into your land? Your future connection with Britain whom you can (no longer) neither love nor honour will be forced and unnatural...Reconciliation is now a fallacious (false) dream...Every quiet method for peace hath been effectual...As Britain hath not manifested the least inclination towards a compromise, we may be assured that no terms can be obtained worthy the acceptance of the continent, or in any ways equal to the expense of blood and treasure we have already put in."


"No man was a warmer wisher for reconciliation than myself before the fatal 19th of April 1775 (the day of the battles of Lexington and Concord), but the moment the event of that day was made known I rejected the hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh of England for ever...Is the power who is jealous of our prosperity a proper power to govern us?...Even the best terms which we can expect to obtain can amount to no more than a temporary expedient, or a kind of guardianship which can last no longer than 'til the colonies come of age."

"Nothing but independence, i.e. a continental form of government, can keep the peace of the continent and preserve it from civil wars...There are ten times more to dread from a patched up connection than from independence. I protest that if I were driven from house and home, my property destroyed, and my circumstances ruined I could never relish the doctrine of reconciliation."


"Tis not in the power of Britain to do this continent justice: the business of it will soon be too weighty and intricate to be managed with any tolerable degree of convenience by a power so distant from us and very ignorant of us. A government of our own is our natural right. The last chord now is broken. There are injuries which nature cannot forgive. Every spot of the old world is over-run with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the Globe. England hath given her warning to depart. Receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind."




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