Thomas Paine: Revolution & The Birth of a Nation [10:01]


The young narrator of this video starts with the situation of early Americans under British rule.  It then goes into Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and its role in fueling the American movement for Independence.  It then cuts to an interview with Ray Raphael, a professor at Berkeley, about the regular guy Paine was and the importance of this biographical fact.  The video ends discussing Paine’s argument for an entirely new social and political world, and the inevitable struggle with conservatives who wished to maintain the status quo.

Discussion Questions

  • Why was it important that Paine was an an aristocratic elite and wrote in any regular American would?
  • What was then current government of the colonies like?  What was Paine’s radical argument for a new political and social world?
  • What was the main argument against it?  Why did people want to conserve the status quo?
  • What are some current status quos that we may need to completely re-imagine?

Keywords: Paine, history, America, United States, Founding Fathers, Revolution, politics, Independence, Common Sense, rights,


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