Thomas Paine's Common Sense

Discussion in 'Random Topic Center' started by Gir, Oct 3, 2007.

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  1. Gir

    Gir New Member

    Does anyone know anything about this? We were discussing it in history today for our drill question (which is always taken from an AP test). The question was:

    Common Sense by Thomas Paine is considered a most effective:

    a. Logical Argument for independence
    b. Propaganda Work for independence

    We had it between these two answers. I chose a, but the answer was b. I still don't understand why it's not a logical argument. She said it suggested a clean break from Britain that would be quick. Since the U.S. was so attached to Britain at that time, she said it would be illogical.

    But in the textbook, it said Paine talked about how the U.S. kept going back to Britain despite all of the taxes and mistreatment. Part of Common Sense she gave to us said that America's economy was continuously ruined because of involvement in European wars, and that their connections harmed the country as a whole.

    I don't understand why his suggestion of a break from Britain would not be a logical argument. If America continued to go back to Britain and have their country ruined, while would it be illogical to want to break from it?
  2. Mew*

    Mew* Active Member

    :confused: I would have said letter A too.

    Common Sense was some book about how it is so obvious that we should part from Britain that it is common sense... That is all I really ever heard about it.
  3. Cyrus

    Cyrus Iron Chef - Master Emeritus

    Well, if what you're posting is verbatim, think about the prompt:

    "most effective"

    Now ask yourself: what made Common Sense so famous?

    If you answer A, then basically you believe that Common Sense was meant to inform.

    If you answer B, then you feel that Common Sense was famous because of its persuasive nature.

    I feel like the question's wording is off, but that's basically what it's asking. When you put it the way I do, I doubt you'd have anyone say it was A.

    P.S.: IIRC, wasn't Common Sense a pamphlet? That in itself indicates that it's propaganda.
  4. Marril

    Marril New Member

    Anything that promotes any kind of political ideology can be taken as propaganda, really. Even if it's a logical argument, it's on a subject where there will generally be logical arguments against it as well. Promoting one side without representing the other (or by representing it in a bad light) is, basically, propaganda.

    Now, if it gave logical arguments as to why not breaking from Britain would be a good idea and let readers decide for themselves with all the information on the table, then it wouldn't really be arguable as propaganda.
  5. Regis_Neo

    Regis_Neo Moderator

    What he said.

    Common Sense was a "pamphlet" even though it was what, many pages long? But yeah, the answer should be B, as it was used essentially as propaganda in advocating independence from Britain iirc. It had logical arguments, that's true, but it wasn't written mainly for that reason. So B is the better answer.
  6. ryanvergel

    ryanvergel New Member

    Your teacher said his argument was illogical not for suggesting to break off from Britain but for saying it would/could be done in a timely manner.

    I really don't think it's a logical argument. When I read logical arguments they all follow a very similar process of introducing argument, discussing counterarguments, and then defeating the counterarguments.

    I mean, unless someone also introduces an opposing point of view in good detail it's not a true ARGUMENT at all, let alone one based on logic.

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