Thomas Paine And Natural Rights

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On July 4th, 1776 the Continental Congress, of the newly established United States, declared that the North American colonies of Great Britain were officially independent. The motive for this new style of revolution was founded on John Locke’s theory of natural rights for men. After studying Locke’s enlightenment ideas, cries for these unalienable rights extended throughout all corners of the colonies. The grounds for independence were rooted in the violation of these unalienable rights. The founding fathers were legitimate in calling for revolution because of Great Britain’s incompetence in protecting the natural rights for its British citizens in the North American colonies. The enlightenment discussion of natural rights, led …show more content…
In Paine’s famous pamphlet Common Sense, he argues the British form of government is outdated and threatens the rights of its citizens. Paine’s conclusion that the government which is ruling the colonies is obsolete calls to question how can it fulfill its responsibility to protect its citizen’s unalienable rights. James Otis gives a more detailed account on the rule of government by stating that “the end of government being the good of mankind, points out its great duties: It is above all things to provide for the security, the quiet, and happy enjoyment of life, liberty, and property.” Great Britain, however, can be seen breaking these rights consistently. First, liberty is disregarded because the colonists are treated like second-class citizens by not being represented in parliament. Secondly, the act of quartering troops ignores the natural right of property. The colonists’ declaration for independence, therefore, is legitimized due to Britain not fulfilling its …show more content…
The biggest proponent of this assertion stems from a religious argument. Without getting too detailed about the aspects of the debate, one can study Jonathan Boucher’s argument of full obedience. Boucher states that “obedience to government is everyman’s duty, because it is every man’s interest… it [obedience] is enjoyed by the positive command of God; and therefore, when Christians are disobedient to human ordinances, they are also disobedient to God.” The idea that God ordains a ruler is known as Divine rule and is the quintessential aspect to Boucher’s argument. Jonathan Mayhew, however, believed that the need for total submission is not the solution. He stated that if a civil ruler, ordained by God, goes counter to their duty then they have no right to be obeyed. Mayhew’s statement demonstrates that there can be circumstances where revolt against a magistrate can be permitted. Mayhew’s argument about a just revolt against authority can be a possible explanation to rebutting Boucher’s concept of Divine

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