This small introduction deals with the fact that the following text is to be objective & will not be dyed of any particular political tendency. It must be noticed that this text is anonymous however it is said that the author has no connection with any party or anything that could influence its judgment over this important problem: should the US people jointhe loyalists (=those faithful to the King of Britain) or the Patriots (=those who favor the US independence) in the opposition of the two countries? This text is written at Philadelphia during the Second Continental Congress where some delegates of the 13 colonies that composed the US by this time had sent. It is dated of February the 14th which means that the war had already began with Britain &most of the population did not feel concerned by the conflict so Thomas Paine who advocated the independence wrote this pamphlet to criticize the King of Great Britain: George III. Here is how he managed to do it:
Of the origin & design of government in general. With concise remarks on the English Constitution:
First, he distinguishes society from government, the former being wanted thelatter being imposed. He considers the first as a blessing (=benediction) whereas the latter is but a necessary evil. He says that government is something that seems innocent & blessing but it is only an appearance. Paine considers the example of few people being sequestrated in a part of earth, he says they would think first of society because man needs to find assistance but if one man does notseize the opportunity to create this society this opportunity will be lost forever after since he will not be able physically to construe this society (I consider this conception quite far from what was thought as a reference at that time, the state of nature of Hobbes).
He also says that emigrants will be absorbed in this society so it would need no government however, Paine warns that man isnot pure & inevitably he will relax & count on others to do what is to be done by him so here is a need for “some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue”. Then Paine thinks of a parliamentary system with equal representation (the first cause of the war is that Britain imposed taxes to the US colonies without granting them of representation at the British parliament hence the catchphrase =slogan “no taxation without representation”). Paine even foresees the system: representatives elected for short terms in order for them to be in sync with people’s opinion at any time on which depends “the strength of government & the happiness of the governed”. Paine believes in the perfection of nature & that mankind cannot build something brand new but just try to balance the fewimperfections of nature.
Then he says that the English Constitution was a good one but only when it was created now it is kind of “old fashioned” because:
- It is far too complex: if the people suffer, it has no means to know why & whose fault it is!
- It is in fact the base of ancient tyranny mixed with republican ideals because there are a King & the peers (both power is hereditary) but thereare the commons. Moreover it is said that all power checks the others it is false: the King is not checked & it would suppose that the commons are wiser than the crown BUT by giving the King the power to veto all bills the commons would pass, here the Constitution supposes that the King is wiser than the Commons. The system is incoherent.
The advocates of the Constitution say that the King isone entity, the people another & both have delegates in Parliaments viz (=that is to say) the peers & the commons. Moreover, Paine says that no matter how democratic a system is, there has to be a dominant power, the one that will guide the whole country. The crown is still in power because it has a power of nomination & if the Britons have been wise enough to dodge absolute monarchy they have...