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Paine asks the reader to set aside his or her prejudices and judge the comments he is about to make about the situation with an evenhanded manner. He says that while some have argued that because America has flourished under British rule, it is necessary for America to remain tightly bound to Britain. Paine likens this argument to saying that because a baby has flourished on milk, it should never eat meat. Furthermore, he argues that the situation in the colonies would have been even better had various European countries not exerted their power over America.
It is argued that Britain has protected the colonies, but Paine points out that Britain protected the colonies for its own financial gain, not out of altruism. Additionally if the colonies had not been dependent on Britain, then they would no longer be enemies with countries that are enemies of Britain. Therefore, Paine argues, the very condition of being Britain's colony is what brought about the need for protection in the first place.
Paine also argues that the fact that many Americans are of British descent is irrelevant, as Britain, being an enemy, has no legitimate claim to American allegiance. Reconciliation is not the duty of the colonies. If it were, Paine says, than Britain, half of whose people are of French descent, ought to submit itself to the rule of the French. Paine contends that America will gain nothing by remaining attached to Britain, and that the financial burdens America's present relations with the British impose on some citizens is monumental. Bostonians, for example, are constantly threatened with the theft of their property by British soldiers.
Paine also argues that reconciliation with the British will only cause the present situation to repeat itself. Paine says that it will be impossible to return to a state of peace and normalcy under British rule after the battles and financial oppression that have occurred. It is misguided to think that the British will not again impose an oppressive tax. After all, they reintroduced unfair tariffs a year or two after repealing the Stamp Act. Paine states that America is too large and complex to be governed by Britain. American commerce cannot be managed from afar. He adds that it is perverse that a small island should be ruling over a large continent.
Paine says that for the colonist not to seek full independence will only temporarily end the struggle, and that the children of those currently in power will later be forced to take up arms against the British. Is that the legacy to leave the children of America? For a while, Paine admits that he thought it possible that reconciliation might occur. However, after the battle of Lexington and Concord, it became clear to him that the situation had deteriorated too much for a reconciliation to occur.
Paine begins to set out the details of what he sees as the proper form of government for America. He offers a way of choosing the congress and President and recommends the convening of a "Continental Conference" to produce a "Continental Charter" that will lay down certain laws for the union and ensure the protection of certain fundamental rights. Paine says that the law should reign sovereign in America, and that it is important that the most fundamental laws be inscribed in a constitution. He ends this section with an impassioned plea to break free of the tyranny of the British.
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