Thomas Paine Common Sense Questions

| December 15, 2015

TP Assignment

  1. Why do you think Thomas Paine writes Common Sense anonymously? How does he think his work will be remembered?
  1. According to Paine, what is the difference between society and government?
  1. What is the meaning of ‘liberty’ in Paine’s thought? Equality? What is the relationship between the two?
  1. According to Paine, why is there a need for regulations and government in general?
  1. Why does Paine consider the English monarchy to be ineffective?
  1. What is the view of Gideon that Paine uses as an example?
  1. What does Paine think that America will gain by separating from England?
  1. Describe Thomas Paine’s life and background, including where he is originally from and what his reputation was before, during, and after writing Common Sense.
  1. What is Paine’s argument based on? What intellectual movement and why?
  1. What is the role, for Paine, of the wars in Europe on American independence?
  1. How does Paine argue the opposing point of independence? How does he counter the “reconciliationists”?
  1. List the reasons why Paine thinks independence is necessary. What is “the most powerful of all arguments” for independence?
  2. Paine begins his analysis from the state of nature. What is the rhetorical function of this ?
  1. What political goals does this serve? What role does nature have in Paine’s thinking?
  1. For Paine, what is the relationship between law and liberty?
  1. According to Common Sense,what is the basis of just government?
  1. What point is Paine making when he argues, “Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America”? How does he use the national origins of English monarchs to show that the colonists’ English origins are irrelevant to the decision they now face?
  1. How does Paine reject the arguments of “men of passive tempers” who wish for reconciliation with Britain?
  1. How does Paine answer the question, “Where is the king of America”?
  1. How does Paine reject the argument that the colonies have “flourished” as members of the British empire? What was Britain’s true motive in defending the colonies, and what does this motive reveal about the relationship between the two?
  2. What did you learn from reading this assignment? What is your opinion of the work?

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