Specifically, you will see how a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in January 1776 ignited the colonists in America to become independent of England, how Paine used verses in the book of Judges to build a strong moral argument against Kings, and what lessons are appropriate today. After reading this article you should be able to appreciate the impact of the Bible on the forming of the United States of America.
Thomas Paine, an Englishman who migrated to the English Colonies in 1775 with the help of Benjamin Franklin, authored and published the pamphlet, "Common Sense" on January 10, 1776. The pamphlet was published anonymously and created an immediate sensation with 120,000 copies printed in the first three months. Common Sense also became popular in England and Europe and in six months a total 500,000 were printed.
In Chapter II of Common Sense - On Monarchy and Hereditary succession, Paine's central theme against the King of England focuses on a strong moral argument, based on the book of Judges (Chapter 8). Gideon a judge leader of Israel, after defeating the Midianites, is asked to become King of Israel. He refuses and justifies this request by pointing out that it was not right for him to be king, since their only king was God.
Paine emphasized that kings were an invention of Heathens and it was a form of idolatry that was not part of God's natural order. One hundred and thirty years after Gideon, the nation of Israel continues to seek a king and obtains one after pressuring Samuel to ask God. Their rationale for a kind was because they wanted to be like the nations around them. Paine described this as the second error in Israel's history. Using historical examples to prove that kings (both in England and in Europe) brought tyranny and numerous wars to their respective nations, and the fact that the English Colonies were now in a unique position to break away from England, Paine arguments fired up the colonists to break away with force - the American Revolution. Paine also played a role in the French Revolution, although he was almost executed and spent 18 months in prison before returning to the United States.
To look back today at how one story in the Bible, and perhaps one key verse, Judges 8:23, affected the course of a new nation in another continent is the realm of the providential. Despite Thomas Paine's controversial beliefs as a Deist, rather than a mainline Christian, it is food for thought to see how Payne used Biblical history to change the course of events in 1776. Was it Providence or was it an accident in history?
"Common Sense" enjoys popularity to this day: consider doing a search on Google and see for yourself.