After the adoption of this Declaration of Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, which confirmed the bloody break that had taken place, there could be no compromise. For those who had participated in this Revolution, it was either death as traitors, or life in a new nation as patriots. The dice were thrown, and no one knew whether the winning number was coming up or not.

Officially, the Revolution had never been declared. Officially, and according to the Continental Congress, the American people, with their frontiersmen's contempt for titles, were still loyal subjects of George III, by the grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, and the Plantations beyond the Seas, Defender of the Faith, and Sovereign of the most noble Order of the Garter, Duke of Brunswick and Lunenberg, Arch-Treasurer and Prince Elector of the Holy Roman Empire.

The protests of loyalty were not exactly hypocritical. It was as if a couple were privately fighting and wrangling and planning a divorce, while in public they were feigning mutual love. The records of the Continental Congress contain messages and proclamations of the delegates' great amity and good will to their "British brethren." Immediately following are resolutions to build more powder mills to carry on the war. But the members of the Continental Congress had long before made up their minds to get rid of the Royal meddlers. This Declaration was an evidence of the unanimity of sentiment that was strengthening the growing American Constitution.

Into the picture came the dramatic genius of Tom Paine, usually referred to as an Englishman, because he did not come to America until 1774. He had been a clerk in the excise service of Britain. The pay and conditions of the excisemen were outrageous. Paine did some agitating; he got fired, say the British, for his debts. He met Benjamin Franklin, then in London, and made friends with him. Franklin gave him letters of introduction. Paine left for America and there joined the Revolution. He did inestimable service to the cause of America, but was treated like a dog for his later writings, which very few people had read.

But everybody read his first notable work, Common Sense. In it he caught the spirit of the people, put it to ink and paper, and made a sort of proclamation of it. Common Sense was first printed January 9, 1776, helping pave the way for the Declaration of Independence, which came six months later.

Because Common Sense crystallized what the people had been thinking for a long time in a vague and scattered way, it received wide distribution—became America's first "Best Seller." Recounting grievances, fanning high the red hot flames of independence, Common Sense was a constitutional document of the highest order, and at the same time a powerful piece of propoganda.

Paine first set about demonstrating that the English constitution had become rotten, comparing attachment to England to attachment to a prostitute. He proved that the institution of monarchy and divine right was opposed to Scripture, and that kings in general were bad.

Then he said:

The Sun never shined on a cause of greater worth. 'Tis not the affair of a City, a County, a Province, or a Kingdom; but of a Continent. [ditto]

He gave Americans an expansive pride in fighting for their liberty, a feeling of being a part of a land which was their own—a land in which no outside King or tyrant should have a word to say. Through the magic of his words the American people and their land were transformed and fused into a living nation.

Nor did he forget groceries:

The commerce by which she hath enriched herself are the necessaries of life, and will always have a market while eating is the custom of Europe. . . .

He proceeded to exhortations, demanded separation, and spoke of the blood of the slain. "'TIS TIME TO PART!" he cried out, and continued:

The present winter is worth an age if rightly employed, but if lost or neglected the whole Continent will partake of the misfortune; and there is no punishment which a man doth not deserve, be he who, or what, or where he will, that may be the means of sacrificing a season so precious and useful.

Knowing that the colonists possessed the popular concept of Magna Carta and that they were in the process of adding to that concept, Paine proceeded to some very clever writing:

. . . Is there any inhabitant of America so ignorant as not to know, that according to what is called the present constitution, this Continent can make no laws but what the King gives leave to?

He said that nothing but separation, a continental form of government, was possible; that the people should stop the ridiculous practice of always petitioning the King; that, with a continental form of government, the continent should be preserved inviolate.

But Tom Paine was no mere theorist; he gave the details of how this could be established; he set out exactly how it should be done. First, he proposed the manner in which representatives should be selected, and then proceeded:

The conferring members being met, let their business be to frame a Continental Charter, or Charter of the United Colonies; (answering to what is called the Magna Charta of England) fixing the number and manner of choosing Members of Congress, Members of Assembly, with their date of sitting; and drawing the line of business and jurisdiction between them: Always remembering, that our strength is Continental, not Provincial.

. . . Securing freedom and property to all men, and above all things, the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; with such other matter as it is necessary for a charter to contain.

Immediately after which, the said conference to dissolve, and the bodies which shall be chosen conformable to the said charter, to be the Legislators and Governors of this continent for the time being: Whose peace and happiness, may God preserve.

But Paine knew the people still revered the Crown, as a symbol. So he made a personal villain and a brute of the King, and at the same time used another King as a symbol, and put it up for all to see and worship. Tom asks, "But where, say some, is the King of America?"

And the answer is sacred, symbolistic:

I'll tell you, my friends. He reigns above, and doth not make havoc like the Royal Brute of Great Britain.

. . . Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honours, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the Charter.

Let it be brought forth placed on the Divine Law, the Word of God.

Let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America the LAW is king! For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be King; and there ought to be no other.

. . . Lest any ill use should afterwards arise, let the Crown at the conclusion of the ceremony be demolished, and scattered among the people whose right it is.

A government of our own is our natural right: and when a man seriously reflects on the precariousness of human affairs, he will become convinced, that it is infinitely wiser and safer, to form a constitution of our own in a cool deliberate manner, while we have it in our power, than to trust such an interesting event to time and chance.

Thereafter, Paine proceeded to say that the people should leave an independent constitution to posterity. He pointed to the marvelous resources of the new continent, and warns that the new law must be for the whole. The people must have "domestic tranquility."

At any rate, the work of Thomas Paine actually stirred the colonists, and let them know they were on a single idea, and common cause.

Now men were everywhere following this common sense, advocating separation and independence. Before long, people wanted it written out, so the whole world could see.

So let us look at the written mechanics of revolution.