Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”

“The most illogical argument in Common Sense asked of me by Dr. North.

Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1776. He presented his argument for why he felt a revolution was necessary. Paine said that his arguments were plain and of a common sense nature. Not so much.


It became America’s first best seller. I do not know how that managed to happen. More rhetoric was being used than logic. For example he stated that a country should have no debt. He then contradicted himself and said that it should have debt…

“The debt we may contract doth not deserve our regard if the work be but accomplished. No nation ought to be without a debt. A national debt is a national bond; and when it bears no interest, is in no case a grievance. Britain is oppressed with a debt of upwards of one hundred and forty millions sterling, for which she pays upwards of four millions interest. And as a compensation for her debt, she has a large navy; America is without a debt, and without a navy; yet for the twentieth part of the English national debt, could have a navy as large again. The navy of England is not worth, at this time, more than three millions and a half sterling.”

The whole thing for me was, to be honest, humdrum and so hard to get through. It could not keep my attention. 


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