According, to Paine, what is the difference between society and government?
Paine describes society and government as being two very different things despite the fact it has been grossly misunderstood by many writers who have attempted to classify the two. Paine indicates that society is a by-product of its citizen’s wants and government is the creation of society’s wickedness. Society’s primary goal is to promote happiness and is a unifier. The government serves to tear down all that and prevents society from flourishing, but works to constrain its citizens. Paine refers to the government as a necessary evil and considers society a blessing. He likens society under the rule and oppression of government in its worst state to that of a nation that has no government at all.
What is the meaning of “liberty” and “equality” in Paine’s thought?
Paine believed mankind was created equal by the Creator and that it is man who determines that man cannot be equal. Man determines who is rich and who is poor and treats its citizens accordingly. Stature and position is a by-product of this notion which is far apart from the original intent for the purpose of man created by God. In that same regard, Paine believed liberty was something that was afforded to the people that would require a conscious concern for the well-being of the people as a whole. Liberty gave man the freedom to choose, freedom to exist, and freedom to openly care for his fellow man at his discretion.
What is the relationship between “liberty and equality”?
The relationship between liberty and equality is that one cannot exist without the other. The absence of equality gives no value to liberty and vice versa. Both are complimentary to each other. If man is given liberty then he should be treated equally as that of his fellow man. When man is oppressed he does not have liberty and therefore cannot be considered an equal.
According to Paine, why is there a need for regulations and government in general?
Paine believed regulations and government were necessary to maintain order of its citizens. He gives the example that there is an inherent need for man to want to help his fellow man. As man migrated to the land to live and exist among one another there would not be a need for government so long as man remained in perfect order. However, even Paine recognized that this would be a short-lived instance as man gravitates into a life of comfort and complacency. The bounds of immigration would be the commonality among the citizens but as man decided to branch out and live according to his own will that commonality would become a weak link among the people.
Why does Paine consider the English monarchy to be ineffective?
Paine believed the English monarchy was corrupt and its sole purpose was to govern and rule the world. He believed that the people were deceived with pomp and circumstance in order to win over the masses and condition the mindset to one of conformity. However, in the grand scheme of things that is all the English monarchy was; a scheme. Paine believed that the bigger government was, the less likely it could be managed and run effectively. He was a firm believer in a simple way of doing things in order to maintain and restore order as needed. Further, Paine saw the English constitution’s premise of being a union of three powers to be a great farce. The system of checks and balances that it presupposed would mean that the people or Commons would be responsible for keeping a check on the King because he could not be trusted, which would in essence make the people more intelligent than the King. However, with the King being in power, this negates the power of the people, because he could turn right around and check up on the people, thus removing their power and ability to oversee his actions which made him smarter than the people. It was a considered a vicious cycle in a struggle for power between the two.
What does Paine think that America will gain by separating from England?
Paine argues against those who believe America will gain nothing by separating from England. He contends that although America has grown under British rule, this is not a sign that they should remain attached to Britain, otherwise, they might as well have not migrated to America. Paine believes that America can finally create its own sense of self without the influence of England hovering over it. This is important for the freedom of American citizens and to the future of the country as a whole. Further, Paine believes the establishment of American government will give the country its own foundation from which to grow and evolve apart from British influence.
List the reasons why Paine thinks independence is necessary.
Paine believes independence is necessary in order to establish American ideals, government, and statues that are created by and for the people. He believes that the only way for America to maintain amicable relations with England is to separate and become independent. America’s independence will prevent Britain from having control over the colonies for its own financial gain. This would also remove the financial burdens that the British have imposed on American citizens. Lastly, Paine argues that America needs to gain independence from Britain in order to preserve the future integrity of America. To remain under Britain’s rule would only serve to temporarily provide a fix to an ongoing problem that would eventually result in more of the same with no resolve but to eventually fight for freedom that America already has a chance to have.
What is the “most powerful of all augments” for independence?
Perhaps the most powerful of all arguments that Paine makes for independence is his plea to the people to understand the current constraints being imposed on them by English rule. Any remaining tie to the British would only serve to be temporal and they would never be able to be completely free if they do not take the opportunity to do so when they have the chance. Trying to be independent and yet still having any connection to England will not make America free. Eventually they would see very similar circumstances that they have worked to be free of.
For Paine, what is the relationship between law and liberty?
Paine believed that in a free republic that it was the law that makes its citizens free, not the rule of a single man. Paine was greatly concerned that if America was not careful they could easily slip back into a monarchy because of its familiarity under British rule. The law gave guidelines and regulations by which to follow and kept man in check under that law. If the law could be the guiding principle by which man was ruled then he could maintain his freedom and have a greater sense of liberty than being deceived or robbed of his freedom under tyrannical rule. It was only under the law that liberty could rightly prevail on behalf of all American citizens.
How does Paine answer the question, “Where is the king of America”?
Paine indicates that the king of America reigns above earth. He eludes that the king over America is God Almighty. He claims that the King in Heaven would not dare rule America the way the British have. Paine contends that the law that all Americans should abide by is the King’s Law; meaning God. He considered this Divine Law which superseded any law that man could impose upon the people.
What do you learn from reading this assignment?
Thomas Paine had many realistic ideas for how America could become an independent nation apart from the brutal tyranny of Britain. He pointed out that liberty and equality are afforded to every man by our Creator but that it is man who attempts to separate man into categories. We were created to be free. Paine builds on the ideology that freedom is achievable so long as Americans can learn to separate themselves from the very country that they defected from in the first place. Common Sense is a reminder then and now of how precious freedom is and we should hold fast to the origin from where all things come from; God Almighty, if we have any hope of maintaining both freedom and equality under the Laws of God. In doing so, we will not need the laws of man.