Journal 3: Common Sense/The Declaration of Independence
Answer each of the following questions in short well-developed paragraphs. You
must use your own language or appropriate quotations or paraphrases.
1. In Common Sense, Thomas Paine makes a distinction between government and
society. What is the distinction he makes? Explain why he makes the distinction.
2. According to the "Declaration of Independence," what is the purpose of
government? When do the people have the right to abolish a form of government
and establish a new one?
3. In your view, do the people have a right to abolish their government and
establish a new one? If not, why? If so, under what circumstances? If so, is there
anything happening in the United States today that you feel would justify
abolishing the government and establishing a new one?
Journal 2—American exceptionalism
1. Now that we’ve discussed American exceptionalism in class, what do you think? Is American
exceptionalism a valid claim? First, indicate how you interpret American exceptionalism and
then explain your opinion on the concept’s validity.
2. Regarding America as exceptional, automatically involves comparison to other countries and
often involves ranking countries according to various criteria. Is there another way (or ways)
Americans could view the country’s place in the world other than how it ranks in relation to
3. Whether valid or not, do you think the concept of American exceptionalism benefits the
United States and its citizens in any way? For example, could it motivate the country to strive to
be its best?
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