Class Topic: Common Sense

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Post  CicelyS on Mon Dec 01, 2014 12:51 am

Assignment: Below is an excerpt from Paine's Common Sense. Read the text and discuss the following questions in your reply, using reference to the text whenever possible.

A) What is Paine’s overall argument? Do you think his argument is effective?
I think he is arguing toward the choice the readers have between the two opposing countries at the time. Thomas Paine is attempting to compel his readers to side with America rather than England. He does this through logic and convincing you emotionally as well as showing you the facts. To me, this is what makes the piece of writing as effective as it is.

B) Discuss where Paine appeals to his reader’s logic and where he appeals to his reader’s heart. Why are both appeals important?
"I have heard it asserted by some, that as America hath flourished under her former connection with Great Britain that the same connection is necessary towards her future happiness, and will always have the same effect. Nothing can be more fallacious than this kind of argument. We may as well assert that because a child has thrived upon milk that it is never to have meat, or that the first twenty years of our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty. But even this is admitting more than is true, for I answer roundly, that America would have flourished as much, and probably much more, had no European power had any thing to do with her. " Through this quote, we can see Paine's use of words to hit us in the heart but also using logic. In my opinion, this excerpt from his writings shows not one of the ways Thomas convinces his readers, but both. This is a very useful and intelligent manner of going about his argument. This method is important because logic and emotions are the two aspects of human nature that are naturally compelling.

C) Paine's work is a persuasive argument that had an electrifying effect on the American population. Can you think of any other examples of persuasive writing that had a similar/comparable effect?
It is not exactly a piece of writing, yet an invention that practically revolutionised businesses. This would be advertisements. To me, the are persuasive essays, yet they only say a few words. Advertisements are flexible, to be interpreted as you would like, just like an essay. Examples of persuasive advertisements can be found everywhere in the modern world. Just look around.

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