Homework Name: Social Studies Seven/Period



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Homework

Name: ______________________________ Social Studies Seven/Period _____


Due Date: Thursday 1/20/11 HW - Common Sense


Thomas Paine’s Common Sense

Background

At the end of 1775, Americans found themselves evenly divided on the very question that would decide their future: should the 13 Colonies declare independence from Great Britain or try to remain a part of the British Empire? The Battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill had done little to change the minds of many Americans, who still regarded themselves as “British” citizens. The thought of breaking from and fighting against the most powerful nation on earth kept many from eagerly seeking a war.



Thomas Paine recognized the crisis that this indecision represented – if Americans could not be convinced to break from Britain, the Revolution would die before it could begin. Paine gathered together the strongest arguments for breaking from Britain and assembled them into a short pamphlet that would be cheap enough for any American to buy. He also gave the pamphlet the simple title of “Common Sense”. The title let potential readers know that it would not be difficult to read or understand.
The passage below is only a part of Paine’s pamphlet. In it, he concentrates on two themes that were of great concern to all Americans – trade and security (safety). Paine knew that these issues were on the minds of the majority of the people living in America.


Passage:
I challenge those who support the idea of remaining with Great Britain to give a single advantage of remaining “British”. I repeat this challenge for I know that a single advantage can not be found. Our corn (and other crops) will earn the same money no matter where we sell them. The goods that we import (bring in to the country) will cost us money no matter where they come from.
The numbers of disadvantages we have by remaining under British control are without number (endless). It is our duty to ourselves and to the world to break from Britain. Any connection to Britain involves us in European wars and quarrels (wars) and makes us the enemy of nations that would be our friends if we were not “British”. It is in our true best interest to steer clear of these European disputes (wars). We can not do this while we are a part of Great Britain.
Whenever a war breaks out between Britain and any foreign power, the trade of America goes to ruin (falls) because of our connection to Britain. The next war may not turn out like the last (the British/American victory of the French and Indian War) and if it does not go well, then those who wish to remain with Britain now will regret it later. Everything that is right or natural pleads (begs) for our separation. Even the distance between America and Britain is a sign that they (the British) were never meant to rule over us.



Thomas Paine An original copy of Common Sense

Common Sense
Name: __________________________ Period: _____
1. Paine recognized that America faced a crisis in late 1775. What would happen if Americans

could not be persuaded to break from Britain?
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2. Paine decided to print his arguments in a short pamphlet called Common Sense. What two

things (themes) made this pamphlet popular with average Americans?

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B. _________________________________________________________________________________



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3. What does Paine say about American crops and imported goods?
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4. According to Paine (in the second paragraph of the passage), what did our connection with

Britain “involve” the Colonies in?
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5. What is the final (last) argument that Paine gives in this part of Common Sense (take a look at

the last paragraph in the passage)?
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