Common Sense

Common Sense

by Thomas Paine

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselvesand each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched livesand destroyed them.Published anonymously in 1776, six months before the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paines Common Sense was a radical and impassioned call for America to free itself from British rule and set up an independent republican government. Savagely attacking hereditary kingship and aristocratic institutions, Paine urged a new beginning for his adopted country in which personal freedom and social equality would be upheld and economic and cultural progress encouraged. His pamphlet was the first to speak directly to a mass audienceit went through fifty-six editions within a year of publicationand its assertive and often caustic style both embodied the democratic spirit he advocated, and converted thousands of citizens to the cause of American independence.

  • Language: English
  • Category: History
  • Rating: 3.97
  • Pages: 104
  • Publish Date: September 6th 2005 by Penguin
  • Isbn10: 0143036254
  • Isbn13: 9780143036258

Read the Book "Common Sense" Online

(In fact, there were numerous points where one can't help but suppose Paine was offering the British monarchy the literary equivalent of his middle finger.) * Male and female are distinctions of nature, good and bad the distinctions of heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth enquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or misery. * Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens, from whom the children of Israel copied the custom. * Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions. * As exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified on the equal rights of nature, so neither can it be defended on the authority of scripture; for the will of the Almighty, as declared by Gideon and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of government by kings. * That the Almighty hath here entered his protest against monarchical government is true, or the scripture is false. And a man hath good reason to believe that there is as much king-craft, as priest-craft, in withholding the scripture from the public in Popish countries.


The document which was published right at the beginning of the American Revolution argues in favor of America's independence from Great Britain. Pamphlets were sort of like the Blogs of the times, it was a medium widely used to spread ideas and causes from the American Revolution to the Women's Suffrage to the Labor Movement. What remains undisputed is the important role this short document had in convincing many colonists that independence from Britain was the best course of action for America. Paine then moves to specifically address why the current time is the best to break from Britain.

Almost 250 years later, this short book (better described as a long essay), still has the power to move you and make you feel the passion of the writer for his subject matter.

This is not any classic book.

I feel a bit ashamed that this is the first time that I have read Common Sense in its entirety. One fact that I was surprised by, and did not remember ever having come across in any history class, was that he had only been in America for two years prior to writing this treatise extolling separation.

(especially since the line itself isn't historically accurate- Thomas Paine published his world-changing pamphlet anonymously.) Desperately. Yes. The truth is, whether he meant to or not, Paine came across as glorious sass. have you even read the British Constitution? *cue spin burn session* Only reason I can be 'concise' is because it's COMMON SENSE *wink wink* and when government ain't doing its job, it's time for us to start a war."-- quotes Thomas Paine would aggressively disown, pt. Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession "Yes fine I'll continue to be serious. BUUUUURRRRRNNN!!!!!!!!"-- quotes Thomas Paine would aggressively disown, pt. Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived."-- real quotes by Thomas Paine, only used 'cause this one happened to show up under his name. Your loyal biographer aka myself is not going to waste time looking up what I actually read when I could be grossly misrepresenting an important historical figure. Also, I have some great ideas for the American government and constitution."-- quotes Thomas Paine would aggressively disown, pt. 3 *muffled thanks from great-great-great-something-grandchildren* Yes, there was no better time to separate from Britain. On the Present Ability of America, With Some Miscellaneous Reflections "WOULD YA STOP TALKING ABOUT THE NAVY???? They CAN'T send their whole navy at us."-- quotes Thomas Paine would aggressively disown, pt. As a historically significant document, it ranks with the Declaration of Independence; as a well-reasoned thesis, it trumps every college paper I've had the misfortune to read; as a lovely bit of early American sass...

Long story short (and super simplified) British Parliament passed the Tea Act in mid 1773 allowing a British tea company to sell basically untaxed tea from China in the colonies while the colonists were still being taxed and therefore forced to sell higher priced tea. Thomas Paine wrote this pamphlet (a rather large pamphlet) to address every single argument against declaring independence, from the absurdity of heredity succession to the unvarnished truth of the current state of affairs in the colonies. Common Sense sent the colonists into a frenzy and was the primary cause of the overwhelming support for a Declaration of Independence that would be written and signed just a few months later. As an American, I can say that some days even I am unsure whether this American experiment has been successful on the whole (some decades have been better than others, right?), but hopefully we are still a work in progress.

As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His principal contributions were the powerful, widely read pamphlet Common Sense (1776), the all-time best-selling American book that advocated colonial America's independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and The American Crisis (177683), a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series. Common Sense was so influential that John Adams said, "Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain." Paine lived in France for most of the 1790s, becoming deeply involved in the French Revolution.