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Monday, February 18, 2008

AP Government -Module Notes- Chap 2 Part 1-

Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"

  • The idea of separating with England was generally discarded by many of the colonists, including leaders as late an January 1776
  • Penalties for treason, such as hanging, were severe and kept the colonists loyal
  • The high taxes, strict regulations, and foreign soldiers weakened the allegiance to the crown
  • Thomas Paine
    • One time corset maker and tax collector
    • Wrote 'Common Sense' in January 1776
      • Called the king a 'Royal Brute'
      • Paine was rude in his letter compared to previous ones sent by other colonialist, which were humble and gracious
      • Said the government was not Parliament, but a monarchy
      • Authority of all government officials should come from popular consent
      • Concept of an island ruling a continent deified naturla law
      • Called for an end to the colonists' political wavering over British rule and promoted the idea of an American republic where free citizens were in control
      • Within months of its release 150,000 copies of Common Sense circulated through the colonies
      • Inspired Patriots to break from tradition and support independence
    • Published another work called The American Crisis, No 1
      • From this comes the battle cry of the American Revolution

Declaration of Independence

  • Prohibitory Act was passed by Britain in December 1775
    • Closed all colonial ports and defined resistance to the Crown as treason
    • 2nd Continental Congress responded by authorizing privateers to operate against British shipping
    • Discovered that the British were hiring foreign mercenaries to crush resistance
      • Thoughts of mercenaries colonists concluded that a peaceful reconciliation was not possible
  • Continental Congress open trade ports to international trading
  • June 7, 1776 Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced the idea that the US should be free
    • Said they should break from England, but Congress believed a more formal explanation was needed to unify the colonies, secure foreign assistance, and justify their actions to the world
    • Delegates from the middle colonies were reluctant to support the separation and postponed a vote
  • Congress appointed a committee consisting of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson to prepare a formal declaration
    • Committee selected Jefferson to write the first draft
    • Final version submitted to congress on June 28th, 1776
  • Jefferson's writing
    • Included several familiar ideas
    • Came from discussions on congress, writings of John Locke, government proclamation
    • Three Parts
      • Preamble: natural rights
        • People have right to overthrow government if they infringe their rights
      • Draws parallels with Common Sense
        • Lists the wrong doings of the king
      • Justifies colonists actions by documenting the colonists attempts at a peaceful resolution
        • Declared the colonies independence
  • July 4th 1776, Congress approved the declaration
  • Had influence on other countries
  • Remains an inspiration to all

    Need to Know Terms:

  • Common Sense: Thomas Paine's essay supporting the colonies split from England
  • Declaration of Independence: Drafted by Thomas Jefferson and approved in 1776, stated grievances against the British monarch and declared independence
  • Natural Rights: Rights inherent in human beings, not dependence on governments. Include life, liberty, and property.

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