In his famous work Common Sense, Thomas Paine tries to rally every colonist to join him in his effort to get rid of the British and start a new nation governed by the colonies. Throughout the entire work, it is obvious how Paine feels about a revolution — pretty damn strongly. He makes many arguments about how it is necessary to get rid of the British. For example, he speaks of monarchy and rule by hierarchy and how unfair and ridiculous it is. He talks about certain legislation passed by the throne, such as the Stamp Act and other taxes, that he feels the King has no business passing. His language is strong, his stance obvious, and his emotions run high.
Paine’s goal is to get everyone on board — nearly an impossible task. He feels that in order for the revolution to be successful, ever single colonist must be down for the cause and ready, willing, and able to take action. Unfortunately for him, there were many people who did not feel the same way he did, especially the Tories and the Quakers. The Tories, also known as Loyalists, were those colonists that were loyal to the king of England and were everything but sympathetic to the revolutionary cause. It would clearly be extremely hard, probably impossible for Paine to sway any of these Loyalists over to his side — try convincing a Yankees fan to root for the Red Sox and see what happens. The Quakers, a peace-loving, non-confrontational people, were also against a revolution. So how did Paine get around this big problem? He simply excluded those who did not agree with him. In addition to the Tories and Quakers, Jews, slaves, women, those who didn’t own property, and Native Americans were also excluded in Paine’s revolutionary cause.
To most, this may seem absurd, and it definitely is in some ways. At the time at which Common Sense was written, exclusion was clearly evident in everyday life. For example, slaves and women were not treated equally as white men. Those who didn’t own land could not enjoy the same privileges as those who did. So I guess it is safe to say that hundreds of years ago, was much more common than it is today.
Or is it? Maybe people don’t consider it exclusion, or maybe people just don’t notice, but we are constantly surrounded by exclusion. Take for example our own government. A representative from a predominantly white, upper-class district will naturally exclude any minorities and lower class citizens. He only cares about his constituents, and when a bill comes to a vote, that representative will straight up not care at all for minorities and lower class citizens. Even more basic, many institutions are exclusionary. Some golf clubs exclude certain people, whether they admit to it or not. Sure it’s an ugly truth, but a truth nonetheless. Some schools exclude certain people, and fraternities and sororities exclude pretty much everyone. Even social circles and groups of friends refuse to mingle with anyone else. Our lives are filled with exclusion, but such is the nature of life.