Do you know why Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense?
If you never heard of the book Common Sense by Thomas Paine it was the most influential book in American history that made the case for independence from Britain. That’s what the book was about. It was a call for independence.
The book was extremely popular. People say it’s the most read American title of all time. I know a lot of people say the bible the is the most read title of all time, but the bible is not an American book. Common Sense was the most read American book of all time. And that remains to this day.
So Thomas Paine wrote a book that was a call for independence it was and has remained extremely popular.
But here’s the thing. At the time the book the was written, the Declaration of Independence had been written, signed and sent to England. And, the Revolutionary War was already well under way. So, if the Declaration of Independence had been signed and ratified and the Revolutionary War already started why would it be necessary to write a book calling for independence? Wasn’t that already decided?
Here’s the simple answer. Division. The country was very divided. It’s believed that at least half the country didn’t want independence from Britain. Half the country was still loyal to Britain.
Think about that for a second. The country was at war and half the country was supporting the other side. We were at war, with fighting going on, on American soil, there were British troops in just about every city and half the country was supporting the other side! That’s division.
So when we look at the division we see in this country today it’s not new. Division isn’t some new development. The countries been very divided in the past. In some cases far worse than we are today. We were divided before we were even a country. Then a hundred or so years, 150 years later we had the civil war. The country was a lot more divided then. People were killing each other we were so divided.
We look around today and everybody’s talking about how divided the country is and what a problem division is. But division isn’t the problem. We didn’t say the Civil War was fought because the country was so divided. The Civil War was fought over a difference in principles. One side wanting freedom, the other side wanting slavery. That’s why the Civil War was fought.
It was the same during the Revolutionary War. The country was very divided on the issue of independence. Some colonists wanted to remain loyal to Britain. Some of them for selfish reasons. But many of them because they viewed an alliance with Britain as providing better safety and security. That’s what the division was about. One side wanting safety and security and the other side wanting freedom.
In both cases, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, the cause of freedom won. Freedom prevailed.
So what’s the point? The point is Thomas Paine was dealing with the issue of division and making the case for freedom.
It wasn’t so much what he said, because others were saying many of the same things. It was how it said it and it was this. He explained why. He explained why certain principles are so important and why those principles get tested. And he explained it practical terms so everybody could understand it.
He made the argument for freedom using logic and reason and freedom won.
That’s why Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense. To address the issue of division and make the case for freedom.
The principles he wrote about are as important today as ever. That’s why I love talking about it. So as many people as possible can hear it.
I’m Christopher Scott author of Common Sense re-written in modern English and host of the Christopher Scott Show Podcast.
Thanks for listening and make it a great day!
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News & Politics Podcast: Common Sense, brought to you by Christopher Scott.
Common sense talk, news, politics, current events and personal development. In the age of continual constitutional crisis, fake news and partisan politics this show offers a refreshing common sense perspective. Regarded by many as one of the best podcasts by American talk show host, Christopher Scott.
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