A Translation of Common Sense: Reasons for Independence from Great Britain

This past week our US History students were deep in thought discussing the events that lead to the Revolutionary War. For homework, they were asked to translate Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, which was an article written to the early colonists in support of independence from Great Britain. Paine’s words were perhaps the most influential of the time in convincing the 13 Colonies to separate from the English Crown.

By translating the formal and forgone language of the 1700’s students are better able to understand the common sense points that Paine asserts to his countrymen. Throughout the translation students were also asked to bold Paine’s specific points of contention so that their reader can clearly identify the reasons for a call to independence. Below is a copy/paste of one such translation from a student.

A Translation of Common Sense: Reasons for Independence from Great Britain

For a while now, everyone in all social classes and occupations have argued about America and England. It is high time to stop the debate and take action.

Some argue that America’s success is based upon its relationship to England, and that future success also depends upon that same relationship. This is a false conclusion. Someone could just as easily say that because a baby must drink milk to thrive, they will always only need milk. One could say that the first 2 years of a person’s life determines how they will live for the next twenty. But even the initial argument is giving too much credit to England. America would have done much better without Europe’s notice or influence to begin with! America specializes in growing necessities of life, therefore as long as Europeans need to eat, which they always will, America will have a good economy.

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