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Common Sense (With Explanatory Notes)

Common Sense (With Explanatory Notes)

3.8 172
by Thomas Paine

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Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution. Common Sense, was signed, "Written by an Englishman", and it became an immediate success. In relative proportion to the population of the colonies at that time, it had the largest sale and circulation of any book


Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution. Common Sense, was signed, "Written by an Englishman", and it became an immediate success. In relative 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 presented the American colonists with an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of seeking independence was still undecided. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood. Forgoing the philosophical and Latin references used by Enlightenment era writers, he structured Common Sense as if it were a sermon, and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people. He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity. Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as, "the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era".

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Balefire Publishing
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Meet the Author

Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737 – June 8, 1809) was an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he became one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. His ideas reflected Enlightenment era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called "a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination."

Born in Thetford, England, in the county of Norfolk, Paine emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 in time to participate in the American Revolution. 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 (1776–83), 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. He wrote the Rights of Man (1791), in part a defense of the French Revolution against its critics. His attacks on British writer Edmund Burke led to a trial and conviction in absentia in 1792 for the crime of seditious libel. In 1792, despite not speaking French, he was elected to the French National Convention. The Girondists regarded him as an ally. Consequently, the Montagnards, especially Robespierre, regarded him as an enemy. In December of 1793, he was arrested and imprisoned in Paris, then released in 1794. He became notorious because of The Age of Reason (1793–94), his book that advocates deism, promotes reason and freethinking, and argues against institutionalized religion in general and Christian doctrine in particular. He also wrote the pamphlet Agrarian Justice (1795), discussing the origins of property, and introduced the concept of a guaranteed minimum income.

In 1802, he returned to America where he died on June 8, 1809. Only six people attended his funeral as he had been ostracized for his ridicule of Christianity.

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Common Sense 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 172 reviews.
Jennmarie68 More than 1 year ago
I can't say that I liked this one, but I didn't hate it and I actually found it fairly interesting. It was intriguing and as Paine made his arguments for why we should revolt I kept having to remind myself of the time that this was written. It really made me think had we not had people like Paine in our history where would we be today? How different of a world would we live in if there had not been revolutionists? The language took me a bit to get used to. I realized how nice the dictionary feature on the nook really is... There were quite a few times that I had to look something up because I was lost as to what Paine was trying to get across. Overall I think it was a compelling piece of literature. At the very least it was thought provoking and gave me a better idea of the place America was in politically and socially before the revolution.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Think of and compare Capitalism vs. Monarchy. Then think of and compare Kings vs. Corperate and Fame Giants. Ya know, the big dogs at the top whose families inherit generations of wealth, ownership, land, and fame. Now think about how carefully interagrate and infused Capitalism has been introduced into not just politics but also the direction of the Progress of a People of not just our nation but as entire global regions; not just of our own constitution but as theirs or any hope for theirs as well... People should remember the firey desire of our forefathers for freedom. All the struggles they forced themselves to confront and suffer through just for a Freedom of the People... For a better tomorrow. Our forefathers were of not just a few but of an entire generation of free thinking men and women. Our forefathers bled in more ways then imagined on any battlefield. THEY BLED NOT FOR RICHES OR FAME BUT FOR AN IDEA! The Idea that ALL men are equal, all are worthy of equal opportunity and consequence regardless of the riches or rank of power they hold. No man less important then the next. No man deprieved of any available opportunity currently at the current pace of Civilization as the next man. I hold the torch of ALL my forefathers before. Learn from humanities story that has been told thus far..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author is clearly a skilled writer and persuasive debater.  -- I was impressed with the overall argument for independence. This is an artfully constructed document with articulate ideas.   --  Nonetheless, I was disappointed to read a variety of short sighted and discriminatory views in a frequently praised historical American document. Paine continually uses his religion  to justify arguments against the King of England and Jewish persons. Also, the hypocrisy of the colonialist oppression pales in comparison to the plight of their own slaves.  -- In sum, this is an important read for historical purposes. In my opinion I do not believe this early document can be found fully relevant today or used to pioneer the future course of our nation. Perhaps  his success was due to a relatively small amount of homogeneous colonists who shared  the dream of leaving their homeland in search of a better life. If this document hd been written today, I feel that intellectual minds could see many discrepancies and stimulate thoughtful debate.  
Dees-Gust More than 1 year ago
This work played a key role in beginning the Revolutionary War. While young compared to his peers, Paine offered thought provoking insight as to why revolution was the only answer to the problems the colonies faced in dealing with a monarchy. In spite of his open anti-Semitic views, Paine makes valid points about the huge flaws in the British monarchy of the time. Student and/or friend to such notables as Franklin and Jefferson, Paine gathered the threads of their thoughts and wove a tapestry readable by the average person. Information became public in a brief and readable style born of the mind of Mr. Paine. He is the line that connects the founding fathers to the typical citizen. A valued addition to any Revolutionary War buff's library, this is highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you want to know the depth of the problem Britain, you have to read this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The version edited by Haldeman-Julius is mangled in the Nook format and is unreadable.
Anonymous 10 days ago
Anonymous 26 days ago
"Sootkit! Come back here!" She meowed.
Anonymous 26 days ago
Limbed a tree...
Anonymous 27 days ago
I wait for Ghostpaw
Anonymous 27 days ago
He walked in, the waited for icepaw
Anonymous 27 days ago
He padded in
Anonymous 27 days ago
She sat down and waited for her apprentice.
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WaltimusWL More than 1 year ago
It's what our country was built upon and was the foundation for the Declaration of independence and the Constitution
Spooky42 More than 1 year ago
This should be required reading in every school in America. After 200 plus years it has lost none of it's luster or timeliness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is highly informative. In my social studies class we learned about this and i wanted to read it for myself. :) :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thomas paine wrote a great book!!!!!
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