Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Thomas Paine

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 1

    Smile Thomas Paine

    In Common Sense by Thomas Paine ,What does this phrase mean " Government, even in it's best state, is but a necessary evil in it's worst state an intolerable one".

  1. Senior Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Oct 2008
    • Posts: 907

    Re: Thomas Paine

    Quote Originally Posted by DEE2220 View Post
    In Common Sense by Thomas Paine ,What does this phrase mean " Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil, in its worst state an intolerable one".
    A 'necessary evil' is something that, although we do not like it, we need.
    Paine is saying that people need some form of government, but that government is inherently intrusive, that there is always a danger of a government disregarding the best interests of the people.
    He says that in its best form government will cause some annoyance or injustice, but as a necessary evil it must be tolerated. Finally, he says that 'in its worst form', government so far oversteps its rightful place in people's lives that it becomes intolerable (and must be changed).

    I hope this is helpful,


    PS: 'its' takes an apostrophe ONLY when it is a contraction of 'it is', not in the possessive form.

Similar Threads

  1. I want a help in the poem of Thomas Grey!
    By Mhd shaher in forum Literature
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-Apr-2008, 18:50
  2. Thomas Hardy - he resolves to say no more
    By Funk in forum Literature
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 19-May-2007, 22:24
  3. Jane Thomas
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-Dec-2006, 14:17
  4. Cover letter and Resume by Thomas
    By chowchen6133 in forum CVs, Resumes and Applications
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 19-Oct-2004, 23:22


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts