Thomas Paine and Common Sense


Thomas Paine (1737-1809) was born in Britain, but was later convinced to move to America in 1774 by Benjamin Franklin, which was right before the American revolutionary war started in 1775.

   In 1776, Paine published a pamphlet called Common Sense, in which he argued for the independence of America, instead of being under British rule. In this pamphlet, he discussed the difference of a society and a government, amongst many other things. He used this argument against the British rule of America.

   Thomas Paine thought that a society is “everything constructive and good that people join together to accomplish”, meaning pretty much every good cause that people help each other with.

   However, according to Paine, government is very different to society. A government’s sole purpose is to protect life and property, and is a necessary evil. Paine thinks that if everyone acted morally a government would not be needed, as there would be no need of rules etc to make sure that life and property were protected. However, in today’s society not everyone acts morally, and therefore we need a government which decides laws etc. in order to protect life and property. However, this is at a cost at people’s liberty, as you’re no longer free to do whatever you wish to do, e.g. murder someone, when you have a government.

   In conclusion, Thomas Paine thought that society was a good thing, and government was a bad, but necessary, thing.

   I somewhat agree with Paine. Society is usually a good thing, since it involves many people becoming connected and thus helping each other with various things. However, society may also be a bad thing, even if the people in the society mean to do well. What if a society would, e.g., decide that the world would be a much better place if all children were to be killed? They might think that this would be a good thing to do, but we all know that it’s a fairly bad thing to do.

   Well, that’s where government’s needed. If society gains too much liberty, we’ll have people doing terrible things, even if they mean well. With a government, we can decide laws that forbids these things, and make sure that if someone would do this they would be punished, thus preventing other people from doing the same thing.

   However, a government could decide horrible laws, e.g. that all children under a certain age or so should be killed. Then government would not be a good thing, would it?

   I think that we need a government in order to make sure society remains somewhat moral, although if a government gains too much power it’s just as bad as if we didn’t have any government at all.

   Do you think that government is needed in today’s society? Or would you prefer a society where you would be free to do whatever you wished to do, even if this would be at the cost of someone else?


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Postat av: Anna

Nice written Lia!

One reason why government is vital to any great society is the establishment of and the enforcement of law. I think that in all civilizations, law is the primary structure of how to live your life. Therefore I would prefer to live in a country with a government.

2011-04-07 @ 18:15:47
Postat av: Hanna

Like your entry Lia! =)

I agree that a government is important for the people in a society. Without anyone punish the ones who make something wrong the life of ours would be very unsafe.

2011-04-08 @ 11:12:52
Postat av: Kajsa

Good article Lia!

I agree with both you, Anna and Hanna =)

We need some sort of laws in a society to feel safe and secure, even though we can't be free to do exactly what we want.

It is ,like you said, a problem if the government makes crazy laws, but with democracy the society would "control" the government and make sure that it doesn't go all crazy.

2011-04-08 @ 21:23:00

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