Common Sense

The Political Pamphlet during American Revolution

A pamphlet, with a working title of Plain Truth, written by Thomas Paine in 1775-1776 that inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. In clear simple language, it explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence.
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In the second section Paine considers monarchy first from a biblical perspective, then from a historical perspective. He begins by arguing that all men are equal at creation and, therefore, the distinction between kings and subjects is a false one. Several Bible verses are posed to support this claim. Paine then examines some of the problems that kings and monarchies have caused in the past and concludes:

In England a king has little more to do than to make war and give away places; which in plain terms, is to impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears. A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.

Thomas Paine

Born in Thetford, United Kingdom on January 29, 1737 to a Quaker father and an Anglican mother.Paine recieved little formal education, but did learn to read, write, and do math. At the age of 13, he began working with his father as a stay maker and he later worked as an officer of the excise, hunting smugglers, and collecting liquor and tobacco taxes. He did not excel at his job or any other jobs, and his life in England was marked by repeated failures. He grew up to be an influential 18th century writer of many essays and pamphlets. Some of them were "The Age of Reason", "Rights Man", and "Common Sense". He died in New York City, New York on June 8, 1809 as a seminal figure of the American Revolution.
It was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution and became an immediate sensation. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places. Washington had it read to all his troops, which at the time had surrounded the British army in Boston. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time, it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history.

"Common Sense (pamphlet)." Wikipedia. Web. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_(pamphlet)>.


Title Page of Common Sense. Digital image. History. American Revolution: Flags and Fliers Photo Gallery, n.d. Web. <http://www.history.com/photos/american-revolution-flags-and-fliers/photo5>.


"Thomas Paine." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2014. <http://www.biography.com/people/thomas-paine-9431951>