The School of Thought in Common Sense and The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine in his work, Common Sense (1776) appeals to reason and the employment of human common sense, according to the prevailing age of Enlightenment or Reason. He poses in support for independence from Britain. America’s welfare, in his view, should never be reliant upon Britain. Britain’s attachment to the U.S. springs only from selfish, vested interests but America owes no allegiance to Britain since both continents are distinct and separate as the two continents. Pained at some Americans still holding on to the coattails of mother Britain, Paine declares that Americans are immigrant Europeans whose mother is now America. Paine also stresses that there is no advantage to be gained in retaining British colonies and their identities. Since strained political relations, bloodshed, conflict are the consequences of British colonialism, Britain cannot be trusted even as an American ally. America’s main industries are trade and commerce hence continued league with Britain only will alienate potential trading partners. Britain’s only legacy to America has been strife, and plunder. Like Britain, America claims her right to self-government, and freedom, and therefore had to break free of the English yoke.
Thomas Paine in his work The Age of Reason (1794) asserts that each religion has an authoritative figure from whose lips inspiration and revelation are given and accepted by the faithful. Paine does not doubt the direct revelation given to prophets like Jesus, Moses and Mohammed but he affirms that blind belief by a second or third party is only hearsay. He therefore concludes that religion is hearsay since revelation is restricted to the first person. He undermines Christianity because it contains no original values only borrowed concepts from other heathen cultures. It must be understood that Paine subscribes to Deism which affirms the existence of God but does not validate any other doctrinal belief based on sacred text; instead revelation comes through personal experience.
The Age of Reason is published during the French Revolution where there is an abolition of state religion and binding articles of faith. The treatise puts forward Paine’s atheistic and agnostic beliefs. For example, he states that Jesus is not divinity as Christendom believes; rather, He is a copy of Confucius and other Greek philosophers who preceded him. Paine discredits the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ because concrete proof is lacking, according to popular scientific thought. He boldly asserted that Jesus himself never wrote an autobiographical work and denounces the whole of Christianity as a fable which only the gullible believe. Science and reason neglect and challenge formerly cherished Christian principles and truths. Enlightened philosophes demand tangible evidence for every argument. Paine rejects the holy inspiration of the Bible and gives logical explanation for supernatural events. He also stresses on the separation between church and state doctrine which places both church and state and two distinct entities which should never harmonise, or else certain core liberties would be compromised.
In sum, Paine’s school of thought merely reflects those of a lot of the philosophes during the enlightened and revolutionary period spanning 1770-1790. The consummation of Paine’s belief systems gave birth to modern American democracy which endorses the secular State, separated from the Church and the ascendancy of Science and Humanism, all viewed as sterling political standards that are common sense.
The Life of Thomas Paine and the Influence of His Literary Pieces
Thomas Paine: An Intelligent Man and Influential Author
Thomas Paine was an amazing author that wrote “two of the most popular books in eighteenth-century America” as well as other influential pieces (Levine 681). Paine was a very intelligent and a remarkable individual that was unable to reach his immense potential due to England’s suppressive “hierarchal society,” because of this, he made his way to America and left a huge impact (Levine 681). In order to understand an author as influential as Paine, it is important to study his youth, some of his interesting associates, and the impact that was created with his writings (Levine 681).
As a young eight-year-old boy in England, Paine was exposed to a Christian sermon that was so cruel that it made him “rebel forever” against certain religious beliefs (Levine 681-702). He would eventually become a deist which “matched his political and social policy positions” much more than the Church of England (Fruchtman 23). Then, at the age of thirteen, Paine “apprenticed to his father to learn the trade” of corset making (Fruchtman 23). He went on to become a master corset maker but was a “terrible businessman” (Fruchtman 23). Paine was talented curious and taught himself many trades (Levine 681). As a young man, he held many jobs that varied in skillset such as “a tobacconist and grocer, a school teacher and an exciseman” (Levine 681). After failed attempts to change his status in England, he made his way to America (Levine 681). Once in America, with character letters in hand from Ben Franklin, he started his career as a Philadelphia journalist (Levine 681).
Before starting his career in journalism, Paine was a “spokesman against slavery” (Levine 681). When he started working as a journalist in Philadelphia, Paine wrote one of his most memorable pieces, Common Sense (Levine 681). Due to the fact that “Paine had made enemies,” he had these articles published anonymously (Onuf 239). This series of pamphlets was published in order to “urge immediate independence from Britain” (Levine 681). Although “some observers found his behavior reprehensible” they shared his sentiments because peoples view of relations with England were at an all-time low (Onuf 239). The timing was right and the pervasive momentum enabled the enormous sale of Common Sense to flourish “along the eastern seaboard and in France, Germany, and England” (Levine 681). The widespread popularity of Common Sense along with his next series, The Crisis, helped turn the perception of Paine around and lead to many political appointments (Levine 681). However, it wasn’t long until his hot-tempered nature, along with the misuse of power, proved that he wasn’t fit for public employment (Levine 681). In 1787, he would return to England where he would write “his second most successful work” titled Rights of Man that covered a passionate “plea against hereditary monarchy” something he opposed at a very early age (Levine 681).
The impact of these literary pieces was felt strongly throughout a time where the military really needed to be fortified. Paine may have exaggerated a bit when he described the Continental Army as “largest body of armed and disciplined men of any power under heaven” but it did inspire the troops (Drake 196). It was believed that the first Crisis paper titled “These are the times that try men’s souls” was read to George Washington’s troops and “did much to shore up the spirits” of the soldiers (Levine 681). Paine’s style of writing would also inspire very influential men like Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson (Levine 682). Although intellectuals admired his “new populist rhetorical style,” he also wrote in a way to make “those who can scarcely read understand” (Levine 682). As mentioned before, Paine’s writings were not always popular and after his return to England, they got him in trouble and he was charged with treason and fled to France (Levine 681). Just as his writings inspired the troops, his rebellious nature would have an impact on “later radicals” such as Walt Whitman (Levine 682). The impact of his writings would go on to have a profound effect on many writers in 18th Century America (Levine 681).
Several of Paine’s writings had huge impact that carried over many years and help shape early America by giving even the common man inspiration through his simple words (Levine 682). Although England’s suppressive “hierarchal society” made Paine’s future look very grim, he made his way to America changed history (Levine 681). By looking into Paine’s childhood, studying the impact he had on some of his associates, and taking a thorough look into the emotional impact stimulated and created in several nations with his writings (Levine 681). It is remarkably easy to see what made a sometimes-unlovable man seem extremely inspirational (Levine 681).
My Right to Religious Freedom Essay
The following comes from a man that has a lot of Common Sense, Thomas Paine. Thomas Paine is one of the principal founders of the idea of American Independence. “I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel ”These were the thoughts of a man that built the foundation of the United States. Let me ask you this, does this sound like a man that is willing to impose Christian values, or any other religious values, on the whole of a nation? Many religious groups insist that the United States was designed to be officially Christian and that our laws should enforce — their version of — Christianity. Is this viewpoint accurate? Did the founders of our government intend to create a government that gave special recognition to Christianity or any other theology?
To answer all of these, no. The Constitution is a secular document and contains no mention of Christianity or other religion. In fact, the Constitution refers to religion only twice in the First Amendment, which states, “respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” and in Article VI, which prohibits “religious tests” for public office. Both of these are evidence that the country was not founded as officially Christian.
The Founding Fathers did not create a secular government because they disliked religion. Many were believers themselves. Yet they were well aware of the dangers of church-state union. They had seen first-hand the difficulties of church-state partnerships in Europe. Nothing has changed as far as the truth of Jefferson’s sentiments and the need to preserve the wall of separation between church and state as of 2016. Religious symbols, icons and phrases — not just Christian, but any religion — should be kept out of government buildings and organized prayer should be kept out of schools. This protects our freedoms, including the freedom of those who believe in ideas presented in documents like the Ten Commandments or the Lotus Sutra.
Those on the Christian right who would break down this wall of separation are doing a disservice to themselves, because the loss of the separation between church and state weakens the capacity of the government to protect the rights of anyone to practice their religious beliefs freely. Of course, it is possible that many on the Christian right do not believe in freedom of religion and instead want America to be a Christian nation (by which they mean their particular brand of Christianity) that is intolerant of the beliefs of others, whether Buddhist, Jewish, Unitarian Universalist, atheist or anything else. If that is the case, then they do not support freedom of religion and, thus, do not support the Constitution and the principles upon which the United States was founded. That is their right as citizens of a free country. And the First Amendment, including the Establishment Clause, is the basis upon which that right is protected by the government. Such protection is the primary job of the government in a free society; it is not to support any particular religion.
Comparing the Similarities in the Ideas of Freedom Between John Winthrop and Thomas Paine
Freedom According to Winthrop and Paine
The United States is often seen as the epitome of freedom, but there is much debate as to what exactly we mean when we say we value freedom. Since the very beginning, when the colonies were first forming, many people have been explaining their own definitions of freedom, and subsequently their own visions for this country. On the way to the New World, John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts, delivered his famous “City Upon a Hill” speech (“A Model of Christian Charity”). In it, he details his hopes for the future of their new community, emphasizing love and cooperation. It is a strongly religious text, referring frequently to God and to specific events in the Bible. Over a hundred years later, at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Thomas Paine shared his thoughts on various aspects of the soon-to-be nation. One of his works is “African Slavery in America,” in which he condemns slavery. In “Common Sense,” he denounces monarchy and explains why the United States should be free of it. Paine also has a religious basis for his ideas. While Paine and Winthrop both highlight their belief that all humans are inherently equal and should treat each other justly to uphold the ideals of freedom, Winthrop embraces a clearly nonviolent stance of loving the enemy and accepting suffering in order to build a free community, though Paine affirms people’s right to take charge of their situation and take their freedom directly.
John Winthrop delivers his speech on the ship the Arabella in order to inspire his fellow pilgrims to form an exemplary community of love and cooperation when they reach their destination. His Puritan values are clear, especially in his emphasis on compassion. He proclaims that every man “is commanded to love his neighbor as himself” and that “every man afford his help to another” (Winthrop 2). All human beings are created equal, and should be treated as such. He will feel that their establishment is successful if its members are kind and helpful. He wants their community to honor God by exercising the values He prizes. Winthrop strengthens his argument with one of the main tenets not only of Christianity but of most major religions: the golden rule. He references Matthew 7:12, which declares “in everything do to others as you would have them do to you”. Winthrop’s plan for American freedom centers around this simple rule of compassion. If they are going to be free of the tyranny and persecution they experienced in Europe, they must extend basic kindness and respect to each other. They will contribute to successful community that is able to operate freely if there is a spirit of generosity and goodwill. Adherence to the golden rule is one of Winthrop’s main points, that he uses to illustrate his vision of freedom.
Winthrop’s emphasis on loving one another applies not only to those who act with compassion themselves, but to everyone. Freedom is important, but one way to achieve freedom in his opinion is to prioritize unity. Quoting Matthew 5:44, he says “Love your enemies… do good to them that hate you”. It is a common theme in the Bible for people to show kindness in the face of hatred and even violence; mercy and gentleness are very important to Christianity. It is interesting to see how strict Winthrop is in his insistence on this point. Freedom for each person to do exactly what they want is not terribly important to him – what’s crucial are his religious views. However, he believes that in order to be a “city upon the hill,” a good example to everyone of how successful their venture in freedom is, they must show love to all humanity. He does not want to recreate an environment that will allow the same oppression that they are escaping. All people deserve equally good treatment. Winthrop’s opinion when it comes to interacting with others is to form a “labor of love;” to do things for others since “the party loving, reaps love again” (Winthrop 5). He believes that it is important people do things to help each other, because it will foster a positive and helpful attitude. Winthrop hopes to create an environment that is peaceful and full of people engaging in the common good.
Paine also discusses the inherent equality of all people. He is in agreement with Winthrop that everyone is equal and therefore deserves to be treated well. In “African Slavery in America,” he also references Matthew 7:12, ordering people to “do unto all men as they would be done by” (Slavery 2). With this take on the golden rule, he is reminding Americans not only to treat others as they would like to be treated, but also to think of this from the perspective of those they are dehumanizing. Americans are fighting for their freedom, and Paine is trying to convince them that all people deserve to be free. A better community will exist when everyone is looking out for the wellbeing of all those around them, and collectively helping the community. Winthrop and Paine both point out that some degree of inequality in terms of class and wealth will exist, but that this doesn’t mean anyone should be treated differently. More than encouraging people to treat each other well, Paine is pleading for Americans to uphold Christian values of compassion and justice by allowing everyone to be free.
Paine differs from Winthrop in how he wants people to respond to unequal treatment; he encourages anyone suffering to do what they can to free themselves. Paine’s focus on freedom means freedom for all. He asserts that “the slave, who is proper owner of his freedom, has a right to reclaim it” (Slavery 2). Paine finds it despicable that people could try to justify slavery, the theft of freedom and equality from fellow humans, using the Bible. In “Common Sense,” Paine is arguing against monarchy, another unjust institution in his opinion, and quotes Judges 8:23, stating that no human being “shall rule over you… THE LORD SHALL RULE OVER YOU”. Paine believed no man should have his life dictated by another, neither slaves by masters or Americans by an English monarch. Humans have an inherent right to freedom, and regardless of what some people may believe, everyone deserves to be afforded that right. He also talks in “Common Sense” about how monarchial governments are often guilty of picking and choosing which parts of the Scripture they will support. Paine argues that this is wrong, and it relates also to how people would support slavery by pointing out instances of slavery in the Bible, while ignoring the parts that tell of love and equality as well as disregarding the fact that the situation of the African slaves at the time was very different than that of Biblical slaves. In cases of independence from monarchy and of slavery, Paine advocated for Americans to take action and do the right thing. His firm belief in freedom shows his idea of America: a place where all humans are treated fairly and have the ability to stand up for themselves.
Though their overall ideas of freedom may be different, Winthrop and Paine clearly agree that people are created equal and must receive equal treatment. They both cite the golden rule as support for this, encouraging peers to remember to extend the Christian values of love, compassion, and generosity to others. However, beyond this, Winthrop and Paine differ in their beliefs in how people should act when faced with a breach in this rule. Winthrop emphasizes loving the enemy, still arguing with strong Biblical support. He believes that God wants first and foremost for them to “love [their] enemy” because a community of love will be just and merciful. His idea of freedom is to have peace and not to upset the natural order. Later, when the United States are closer to being formed as an independent nation, Paine expresses a more active stance. Based on the God-given rights of all people, he supports the fighting of oppression. Freedom to Paine means gaining for everyone autonomy from unfit authority, such as a king or a slave master. I agree more with Paine than Winthrop, though I think they both have important points. It is true that hatred and violence won’t solve anything; even oppressive people deserve respect and kind treatment. However, this does not negate the fact that some people are suffering at the hands of others, and whenever this is the case, something must be done to change it. My idea of American freedom would see that our country is a place where anyone can be free, not just people who hold certain views or who are born with certain advantages.
The Analysis Of The Document “Common Sense” By Thomas Paine
The first sentence of the very informative and persuasive document know as Common Sense, Thomas Paine says, that just because there isn’t anything wrong does not make anything right. He also starts to explain how America will be an example for the universe and how we could show that everyone should defend their natural rights and that us as humans should be able to reject our officials if we believe they are abusing their power.
Paine believes America will be the great example of freedom from Monarchy and the start of the movement towards democracy. Paine talks about how at some point we will declare for independence so why not now. He makes it seem very inevitable that no matter what anyone does it will happen he also says he has never met a person who believed the US and the UK would eventually split. He then gives us reasons why we should just make it happen. He calls to attention that the United States has great potential in being the hub for all trade and the amount of money and potential we have is unmatched. But as long as we stay under the control of Britain, the king will keep us poor enough that we cannot rise up into the great power we are capable of being. He then talks about the distance between us and our British counterparts. That the long distance of weeks to months of travel will make it impossible for them to keep an eye on us and control this continent. I believe that if England governed us right now with all the advancements in travel they still would not be able to keep control of a land that far across the ocean.
Paine also starts comparing America as if it was a baby drinking milk and as it grows up it should not start eating meat because it is doing fine with just milk. Which is very true because America at first needed Englands help, but as America grew we stopped needing them as much and we are now able to take care of ourselves. The inevitable did happen later Paine was correct and America became its own independent country. At the same time he talks about how independence from Britain will happen at some point he makes it seem that independence from England is urgent and necessary to happen soon. Similarly to the example earlier the amount of money we lose to England daily is so much andthe more money we could be making if we did separate would be unimaginable. Which was very true, the United States is now a super power in economics and is a main part in world commerce.
Paine also talks about how America’s resources are vanishing due to English greed. Which is a perfect example to not only get Americans to understand where all our resources are going but to show them that we could be self sufficient in an upcoming war against them. While the British rely on other places like America and India. Getting resources from India and other places in that region would take months for the necessities to reach its final destination. Another reason we needed to separate from England was that the government in place there was a Monarchy with hereditary succession, meaning you did not get to vote for who lead your country it was passed down by blood. It did not matter how unprepared or how politically ready the person was, which most the time they weren’t at all. He emphasized how important it is that our society should be able to vote for who represents us and that they have our ideas in mind.
The representatives should not do what is best for them, but what is best for the country and the people that live in it. Just because their father was a king, does not mean that their son is as qualified as he was. The worst part is the king doesn’t know what life is like as a commoner, all he knows is how living asking is so he will not pass a law that will help you out or anyone else out all he will do is what is best for him and his friends. Paine also says that a Monarchy that is like Englands is sinful and a man shouldn’t be recognized as a king other than God himself. Furthermore Paine talks about and shows us all the beneficial factors that separating from the United Kingdom will bring us. In England there is very little religious freedom, which is one of the main reasons why people emigrated from there to America when it was first being settled into. One of the first things The United States could do is make it a right to believe in any sort of religion or faith.
Comparative Analysis Of The Writings Of Jonathan Edwards And Thomas Paine
As I re-read the two religious and not so religious writings by Jonathan Edwards and Thomas Paine, I could see a lot more than I did before. These writings seem to be total opposite thoughts and writings to me. Jonathan Edwards used Deuteronomy 32. 35 to start off his sermon, with each verse he basically inferred the meaning in his own words, based off of what he knew. Jonathan used a lot of detail when it came to him inferring each verse that he talked about and you could tell that he was a very passionate speaker, with his sermon. You could really tell that he stood his ground with what he believed throughout the part of the sermon that I got to read.
All throughout Jonathan’s sermon he talks about some terrifying images as he is trying to persuade his audience in believing that God is angry and that each and every person is absolutely powerless against the wrath of God. Edwards uses a lot of details talking about how horrible Hell is, and what kind of bad things happen to the sinners that get damned to Hell. I really believe that Edwards is trying to persuade his listeners into transforming their beliefs into the same beliefs as him, which would make them believers of God. One of the details is located on page 395, it says “That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone, is extended abroad under you. There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up. ” Whereas Paine seems to be mocking religion in a way.
In the beginning on page 696 he says, “My own mind is my own church. All national institutions appear to me no other human inventions set up tp terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. ” Paine thinks that all religion is man made, he even seemed to think that the churches were human inventions, but I think that God is the reason churches came about, God giving his own sons life so we could have everafter life! Edwards is a very strong believer in only one God. He is trying his best to bring more and more people to believe in God, unfortunately he can’t help save all of the people that he comes across. In my opinion Paine is referring to the Bible, as nothing more than just a book full of literature.
Edwards is a super strong believer in the word, and Paine just isn’t. Paine even makes a snide comment in the end, on page 702, by saying “ he sees an additional motive for saying, that nothing was made in vain; for vain would be this power of vision if it taught a man nothing. ” I believe that Paine assumes that God and science are working together to “create” all the stuff and people. I really could not find any similarities in these two passages at all, one was a far extreme, and the other was just the opposite extreme from the first.
Jonathan Edwards and Thomas Paine: Two Authors that Changed the Population
The early Colonial American authors wrote in a way that shaped the world as we know it. Their experiences shed a different light on the new world. Jonathan Edwards and Thomas Paine are two authors in specific that informed and changed a plethora of the population. Their writings were different in purpose, audience, and style, yet they both carried a message that influenced the population. Jonathan Edwards was a preacher during the American Colonial period. His most notable piece of literature is “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. ” This writing warned the public that they should be ashamed of their sins and turn to God for forgiveness.
In this time in history, people were difficult to persuade with the idea of religion as they began to doubt the concept due to science. Edwards writing was highly persuasive and depicted hell with horrifying imagery. His ideas in his writing influenced many, and eventually, the Great Awakening would take place from this influence. Thomas Paine was an Englishman who emigrated to the colonies in 1774. He was very involved in politics. His pamphlet titled Common Sense gained him the title as the Father of the American Revolution. Common Sense was an instant success as he pushed to break away from English rule. His writing was highly persuasive and fueled the idea to many American colonists that it was time to become independent.
Later, months after the publishing of his pamphlet, the Declaration of Independence would be approved by Congress. These two authors played major roles in the advancement of the New World’s ideology. The purpose of each of their writings was to persuade their audience into agreeing with their perspective. Jonathan Edwards purpose was to persuade people into believing in God, to attract more people to the church. His audience consisted of people who lost faith because of scientific theories that contradicted the existence of God. Thomas Paine’s purpose was to persuade people into agreeing with the idea of breaking free from the British. His audience was the people of early America. These were known as Patriotists and were people who sought freedom in the New World. The two writers influenced mass amounts of people, but they had different styles. Thomas Paine’s writings were highly successful because of his straightforward writing style of the times. Jonathan Edwards has a different style in persuading as he uses a great amount of figurative language using similes, metaphors, distinct imagery and more.
Convincing The Masses: John Winthrop, Thomas Paine, And Their Uses Of The Bible In Early America
John Winthrop and Thomas Paine each hold remarkable places in early American history and strived to establish liberty in the British colonies. John Winthrop, dying nearly a century before Paine’s birth, led the Reformed Protestants to the New World, pursuing an “errand in the wilderness.” He was focused on religious liberty. In A Model of Christian Charity, a definitive moral code was laid out for how the colonists would remain faithful to God through living in tight-knit community. On the other hand, Thomas Paine, while descending from a British Quaker family, was secretly a deist. Although he was not Christian like his readers, he used the Bible when needed for his advantage in trying to galvanize them into a full revolution against the British crown. In Common Sense, Paine quotes portions of the Old Testament in order to call the citizens of the colonies to action. John Winthrop and Thomas Paine both use the Bible to argue their ideas of liberty, but Winthrop cites the Bible much more frequently than Paine.
John Winthrop and his colony came to America to practice Reformed Protestantism in freedom from oppression by the king. This group already knew each other well from practicing in England, and everyone was in agreement about what their mission was in the colony. They were to be a “city on a hill,” a community functioning solely to properly worship and love God, standing as an example to all. Winthrop’s thesis for A Model of Christian Charity is God allows some to be rich and powerful, but others poor and submissive. He begins the essay by outlining three reasons for this: firstly, that he is “delighted to show forth the glory of his wisdom in the variety and difference of the creatures”, secondly, to “have the more occasion to manifest the work of his Spirit” to balance the classes, and finally, to form community in that “every man might have need of others, and from hence they might all be knit more nearly together in the bonds of brotherly affection.” In the third reason, he begins quotations from scripture. Winthrop claims that man is only made wealthy for the glory of God and common good, and should share the gifts He has given them. He quotes the Book of Ezekiel, writing, “God still reserves the property of these gifts to himself.” He also stresses the necessity of lending to one’s neighbor, citing the Book of Deuteronomy 15:7, “if he hath present means of repaying thee, thou art to look at him not as an act of mercy, but by way of Commerce, wherein thou art to walk by the rule of justice; but if his means of repaying thee be only probable or possible, then he is an object of thy mercy.” Winthrop is making a point that by way of this type of community, one is more formed in love for God in the development of virtue. Winthrop goes on with a few questions and answers à la Summa Theologica, citing the Bible throughout. He begins to focus on love and the community as the body of Christ. He writes, “Love is the bond of perfection… Christ and His Church make one body… Eph. 4:16: Christ, by whom all the body being knit together by every joint… the ligaments hereof being Christ… Christ is love, 1 John 4:8”. What he is pointing out to his people is that the love of Christ bonds them all together as many parts of one functioning body, that which is their colony; they must live in union with one another in order for their lives to “do more service to the Lord; the comfort and increase of the body of Christ.” Winthrop as a Puritan believes humanity is intrinsically depraved, and very seriously expresses that if the people do not follow this covenant outlined, they will be doomed: “if we shall neglect the observation of these articles… the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us.” Winthrop ends his essay, exhorting the people, “Therefore let us choose life.” Ultimately, he is extremely motivated to develop a colony with full fidelity to God, and his power to help him persuade his people to obey the colony’s Commission is religion mixed with an oppressive dose of fear.
Thomas Paine has a different outlook on use of scripture within his writings. He focuses more so on philosophy, rather than religion and fear, to convince the colonists to strive for liberty from the British crown. As mentioned earlier, Paine was a different kind of man from most colonists – secretly a non-Christian, a deist. But, he knew his audience would be more motivated by sprinkling in portions of scripture, so he made sure to do so. His audience was different from Winthrop’s in that multiple denominations of Christianity were within the Thirteen Colonies at this time, but he knew by quoting scripture he could unite the colonists under their common devotion to Christ. Paine begins Common Sense with a deep dive into the “origin and rise of government.” He writes it is “a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; here too is the design and end of government, viz., freedom and security.” Paine and Winthrop actually find common ground here in that they both realize human beings are imperfect. Paine recognizes that government must be necessary due to this fact, but also emphasizes that governments can too be corrupt, particularly that of the crown of England, which he sees as too complex. Paine begins referencing the Bible in the section “Of Monarchy” with some strong language. He sensationally writes of the evils of government by monarchy, “Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens, from whom the children of Israel copied the custom. It was the most prosperous invention the Devil ever set foot for the promotion of idolatry.” He explains further that monarchy breaches the power of heaven on the people. Paine delves into the story of Samuel for example. He, albeit sensationally, retells the story of Samuel trying to reason with his people that they did not need a human king, who would steal their land and make slaves of the people – ultimately stealing their liberty. And, if they went through with a human king, God would not hear their cries, as they had rejected Him by choosing another to rule over them. This passage was wittingly used, because Paine knew it could drive fear into people that by not joining the revolution they were offending God, and also to show them that their liberties would continue to be plundered and get worse unless they rose up for the revolution. After his enhanced retelling of Old Testament stories, he begins impassionate anti-British sentiments, ranging from the colonists’ descending from English families meaning nothing, to no advantage being given unto the colonists from them, to even the distance between the lands, declaring it “is a strong and natural proof, that the authority of the one, over the other, was never the design of Heaven.” He only cites God when he wants to add strength behind his words, as he knows his readers will cleave to it – particularly in his conclusion. In concluding his essay, he writes that God placed the unforgiving feelings against Britain in the colonists’ hearts, as “the guardians of his image,” and these feelings “provoke us into justice.” Reading between the lines of the whole essay, one can figure he is not Christian through his method of applying the Bible and God within the essay. His argument was not solely based on those but rather mainly on political philosophy with God added in when he deemed it helpful – and because he knew the colonists would be more receptive to that rather than an essay with no mention of God as the driving force behind why the revolution should take place.
Overall, both John Winthrop and Thomas Paine have the same general purpose to their essays and to using the Bible in them – they want to rouse people into acting a certain way to lead to their ideals of liberty. Winthrop focuses on religious liberty by having his colony behave within a strict code of conduct according to Puritanism, and by using the Bible and faith as a source, which his audience shares a common strong devotion to as the sole source of truth. Paine focuses on political liberty from Great Britain in urging those across the colonies to spring into action against it by expressing his political theories with only having the Bible added in when he needed extra motivation for and strength behind his claims, but mostly focusing on the issue in a secular light. Both men were focused on what they thought was the highest good, and used the Bible in different fashions to convince people to agree with that highest good.
- Paine, Thomas. Common Sense. In American Civilization. Edited by John Colman (New York: McGraw Hill. 2018).
- Winthrop, John. A Model of Christian Charity. In American Civilization. Edited by John Colman (New York: McGraw Hill. 2018).
The Analysis of the Literary Works of Thomas Paine, Jonathan Edwards and Benjamin Franklin
In this essay I will be discussing four different literary selections.This essay will analyze and explain what each story is about.This paper will also break down the author’s reason for writing the literary works and I will explain those reasons.
Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” was a pamphlet that was inspired the thirteen colonies to take up arms against the British.This pamphlet was such a hit because he wrote it in a way that common people would be able to understand it.He relied on Biblical references while trying to make his point clear to his audience. Thomas Paine laid out all his thoughts and ideas into this pamphlet so the people could really see his way of doing things. Thomas wrote in style that was often intended to arouse his reader.For example, in his pamphlet he said, “Why is it that we hesitate?From Britain we can expect nothing but ruin.If she is admitted to the government of America again,this continent will not be worth living in.”In this quote Thomas Paine wrote this because he wanted them to be motivated and excited or angry.
In Jonathan Edwards “Sinners in the hand of an angry God” the goal was to teach his listeners about the terrors of hell and the dangers of sinning.The main point was that God has given humans a chance to address all their sins since he has been holding back because he is giving them an opportunity to fix their ways and get back to Christ.God is the one giving everyone chances to do right and Edwards make that very clear.For instance, Edwards said, “Death outwitted me:God’s wrath was too quick for me. Oh, my cursed foolishness!”.In this quote Edwards was saying that it is urgent that people get right with quick because they never know when death might overcome them.
“The Way to Wealth” by Benjamin Franklin was published to give advice on how to have a healthy and wealthy life.In this book Franklin said, “Early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy,wealthy and wise”.Basically, Benjamin was saying that everybody can sleep during the day, but what would you get do?Nothing at all.Therefore, this quote is saying if you get up early, you will be able to get things done and make more money.This book brought out that wealth is obtained by hard work and dedication.Without those two key components, you will not reach wealthiness.
In the literary selection “Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America by Benjamin Franklin it was talking about the savages and how they called them that because their mannerism was different from the others.However, Franklin was bringing out that they should not treat somebody different because that person’s background or culture is not the same as theirs.Just because somebody is different it doesn’t make it wrong.They are not lesser of a normal person because they stand out.You actually might learn something valuable from them.
America According to Thomas Paine Views
Response to Thomas Paine’s Passage
The author of Rights of Man, Thomas Paine, came to America in the later years of his life proving that he could only characterize America to some extent. He couldn’t have possibly lived in America long enough to attest that America was a perfect place where everyone lived peacefully with one another. In no way was America a perfect place where the rich were not privileged, nor where the government was just, and riots and tumults were not engendered. Even though, Paine was correct about a couple characterizations of America in 1791 that still hold true to today.
Thomas Paine came over to America and participated in the American Revolution. In a contextual sense, a revolution is a riot blown out of proportion. Paine himself believed that “there [was] nothing to engender riots and tumults.” If there weren’t problems to “engender riots and tumults,” then why would Paine participate in the American Revolution? Even though America wasn’t called America until after the Revolution, Paine still lived on this land during a time where the people were not at peace. Paine most likely believed that the American Revolution took place so that no other problems would arise. But yet, during his time in America, slavery was becoming an issue. Because Paine didn’t see how there could be anything to “engender riots and tumults” in America back then, he couldn’t have conjured up any idea of the problems America would have today. So what about Occupy Wall Street? Occupy Wall Street has been going on for almost 5 months. People sick of corporate influence on democracy have taken to living in parks around Wall Street in order to get their message that corporate America is forgetting about the little people in America, and they want to get that message across the to government. The government could not have caused such tumult by doing nothing wrong. And likewise, it seems we have forgotten about the document in which this country was built off of.
With the constitution just starting to go into effect only a few years prior to 1791, Thomas Paine again has no right to consider the government just when it is just starting out. The constitution wasn’t completely ratified by all the states until January of 1791. Anytime before then, not every state was happy with the constitution or believed it to be just. Back in 1791, the government may have been constructed “on the principles of society and the rights of man,” but nowadays that isn’t the case. The whole point of the government back then was not to be too involved in the lives of the everyday people. Nowadays, it seems that that’s all the government does. Take the 2012 presidential election. Whenever you turn on the TV it seems some presidential candidate has something to say. And you can’t drive anywhere without seeing a Mitt Romney sign on someone’s lawn or a Rick Santorum sign somewhere else. And these campaigns aren’t run on the quality of the candidate anymore but are based off of who has more money to go and campaign in one state of another. Jon Hunstman Jr. was a worthy candidate but had to drop out because he didn’t have enough money to campaign in Virginia and other states. All government is run by now is money and who has more of it. None of these should be qualities in a government, and they certainly don’t sound like the qualities of a just government.
Thomas Paine characterized America as a place where the rich are not privileged. Take Warren Buffet for example. Buffet is the richest man in America and yet his secretary pays more taxes than him. How is that fair? Also, people with big names and money have ties to the community and can get out of problems just because of who they are. Take Lindsay Lohan for example. Lohan got sentenced to jail for 30 days for violating her probation. She spent no more than 5 hours in jail before she was released. If that was any other no-name face going to jail for violating their probation then they would’ve had to have stayed there for the entire 30 days.
Although Paine may have been wrong about some characteristics of America, he was right about others. Paine generalized that America was [and is], “[m]ade up, as it is, of people from different nations, accustomed to different forms and habits of government, speaking different languages, and more different in their modes of worship.” Back in 1791, the United States was home to white people, as well as black people, slaves or not, and some citizens of other races. Nowadays, America has accumulated a number of people from all types of races, more than in 1791. Then again, in 1791, the Louisiana Purchase had not been negotiated yet and manifest destiny wasn’t even thought of. Even though, Paine’s statement holds true today. We have American citizens that are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, Pacific Islanders, and others as well.
Thomas Paine’s generalization is not enough to characterize America accurately. Paine came over to America to join in the American Revolution and can in no way say that there was nothing to engender riots and tumults, nor could he know whether the government is just or unjust since the constitution was ratified by the final state in January of 1791. Also, Thomas Paine is just a man who couldn’t possibly know whether the rich are privileged or not, living in a world where there is no technology it is hard to hear about someone’s situation in Massachusetts when you are living in Georgia. For the time that Thomas Paine lived in America, his general statement is somewhat true to a certain extent, yet the statement all together is inaccurate for he couldn’t have known that much about America as a whole when he himself wasn’t actually an American.