Thomas Paine: Common Sense

(1776)

Explanation and Analysis of the Document

Introduction

In the Introduction of Common Sense, Paine effectively establishes the incendiary tone that he would employ throughout the pamphlet. Of note here is his opening admission to professing ideas that were not necessarily popular; cleverly, he remarks that his ideas were “not yet sufficiently fashionable,” implying that no others had considered the issues as fully as he does within the pamphlet. He labels the people of America “sufferers” and “grievously oppressed,” immediately assuring all common citizens that he was sympathetic toward their collective plight. Paine expresses his intent to focus on ideas, not men, and thus establishes his relative objectivity. Also, in referring to the “cause of America” as “the cause of all mankind,” he lends his work enormous gravity, which was perhaps of great value in justifying the vehemence of his arguments.

“Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on...

Image for: Thomas Paine: Common Sense

Thomas Paine (Library of Congress)

View Full Size