Thomas Jefferson was born in Shadwell, Virginia. He was among the the first, and most vocal, to stand for the cause of American independence from Great Britain. Thomas Paine was born on the twenty-ninth of January 1737 in Thetford, England. He was unsuccessful in England and migrated to the colonies in 1774. Thomas Paine had an advantage for being born in Great britain; he had a better understanding of how the British felt than many of the other leaders in the colonies at this time. John Locke is one of the most well-known enlightenment thinkers, credited for his ideas of a natural right to life, liberty, and property (later revised to pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence). John Locke greatly influenced the Declaration, and the evidence is quite apparent. The whole Declaration of Independence was based on John Locke’s enlightenment ideas; the most renowned line in the Declaration is that of the “unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Common Sense was similarly influenced by the influential enlightenments ideas of John Locke. The book is about independency, cutting ties with the corrupt mother country, Great Britain. The language in Common Sense is much more casual and tuned for the commoner thus the reason why it was sold and read widely through the colonies. The language in the Declaration of Independence is much more serious; the message was much less of a parody touching upon grievances in a serious manner.
Unlike Common Sense, the Declaration of Indepence lacks humorous aspects such as idioms. The audience in both of these texts played a major factor in the way they were written. The audience for Common Sense is an average American citizen; the language in the text was dumbed down and casualized for the commoner.The intended audience for the Declaration of independence is King George the III, expressing to him the grievances of the colonists. The Declaration of Independence is also aimed towards the entirety of the world, letting them know that America now considers itself an independent and self ruling nation. Jefferson does not discuss slavery in the Declaration of Independence because it was a highly debated issue for many people. Paine uses the word “slave” as a negative connotation and as an analogy for what they have become under England’s rule. He does not use it to literally describe a “slave.”
Thomas Jefferson describes the monarchy as a tyranny. Thomas Paine calls the monarchy childish and illegitimate. Jefferson focuses on the king to justify their claims as the colonies were contracted under the king. Paine influenced Jefferson’s document through the boldness of the Common Sense book. The creation of Common Sense was a very bold move and marked the first time someone openly wrote a text against the British government. Such an act most likely inspired Jefferson to also put his fears behind and create the Declaration as his own bold action in history. Yes, the Declaration of Independence and Common Sense do serve as inspiration for people and nations in the twenty first century, in the way that they encourage people to consider the functions of their government. It also inspires nations that are under a tyrannical or controlling government to strive for freedom and political representation.