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Thomas Paine The Pungent Pamphleteer Thomas Paines Common Sense is credited with having precipitated the move for independence In fact the exact nature of the American cause would have been rather hard to define in 1775 or early 1776 Clearly the Americans wanted the English to stop abusing them as they saw it but how was fighting a war supposed to achieve that end What would constitute victory As long as they were still British subjects they would still be subject to British law and by 1775 it was unlikely that Parliament would grant them any real form of self-government As the Declaratory Act of 1766 had made clear Parliament claimed the right to govern the colonies in any case whatsoever Since achieving quasi-independence was an unrealistic hope therefore the only thing that finally did make sense was American independence a case made very powerfully by Thomas Paine Thomas Paine was a lower middle class Englishman of the 1700s From his low position in life Paine noticed how hypocritical and corrupt the English government was and he formed ideas about law including that the republic was the optimal form of government and that equality was for all regardless of race He brought these philosophies with him to America in 1774 When he realized his immense talent for persuasive writing he committed himself to a life of aiding the poor as a political propagandist Although by the end of 1775 the radicals were boldly demanding independence most Americans were still reluctant to do so That reluctance seemed to change over night In 1776 Paine wrote Common Sense in which he offered nothing more than simple facts plain arguments and common sense on the idea of American independence from England He questioned the English monarchy and the English Parliament He stated To say that the Commons is a check upon the king presupposesthat the king is not to be trusted without being looked after Paine then
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