The only thing about common sense is that it is not too common these days.--Dr. Julia Hare, The Black Think Tank, San Francisco
Common Sense (pamphlet)
Pamphlet's original cover
|Published||January 10, 1776|
As my wish was to serve an oppressed people, and assist in a just and good cause, I conceived that the honor of it would be promoted by my declining to make even the usual profits of an author.—Thomas Paine
Man knows no master save creating Heaven,
Or those whom choice and common good ordain.—James Thomson, "Liberty"
I. Of the Origin and Design of Government in general, with concise Remarks on the English Constitution
II. Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession
In England a king hath 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
III. Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs
IV. On the Present Ability of America, with some Miscellaneous Reflections
Paine's arguments against British rule
- It was absurd for an island to rule a continent.
- America was not a "British nation"; but was composed of influences and peoples from all of Europe.
- Even if Britain were the "mother country" of America, that made her actions all the more horrendous, for no mother would harm her children so brutally.
- Being a part of Britain would drag America into unnecessary European wars, and keep her from the international commerce at which America excelled.
- The distance between the two nations made governing the colonies from England unwieldy. If some wrong were to be petitioned to Parliament, it would take a year before the colonies received a response.
- The New World was discovered shortly before the Reformation. The Puritans believed that God wanted to give them a safe haven from the persecution of British rule.
- Britain ruled the colonies for her own benefit, and did not consider the best interests of the colonists in governing Britain.
It would be difficult to name any human composition which has had an effect at once so instant, so extended and so lasting [...] It was pirated, parodied and imitated, and translated into the language of every country where the new republic had well-wishers. It worked nothing short of miracles and turnedTories into Whigs.
Published anonymously, Common Sense appeared on Philadelphia streets in January 1776. It was an instant success, and copies of the pamphlet were soon available in all the thirteen colonies. Paine's was an unequivocal call for independence, and many Americans wavering between reconciliation with and independence from Britain were won over to separation by Paine's powerful polemic against monarchy, in general, and theBritish [monarchy], in particular.
- Full title – Common Sense; Addressed to the Inhabitants of America, on the Following Interesting Subjects.
- Conway (1893).
- Wood (2002), pp. 55-56.
- Anthony J. Di Lorenzo, "Dissenting Protestantism as a Language of Revolution in Thomas Paine's Common Sense" in Eighteenth-Century Thought, Vol. 4, 2009. ISSN 1545-0449.
- Wood (2002), p. 55.
- Aldridge (1984), p. 42.
- Foot, Kramnick (1987). p 10.
- Isaac Kramnick, "Introduction," in Thomas Paine, Common Sense (New York: Penguin, 1986), 8
- Aldridge (1984), p. 45.
- Aldridge (1984), p. 43.
- Craig Nelson, Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations (New York: Penguin, 2007), 90.
- Paine, Common Sense, excerpted from The Thomas Paine Reader, p. 79
- Paine, Common Sense, 96-97.
- Eric Foner, Tom Paine and Revolutionary America (1976)
- Foot, Kramnick (1987). p 11.
- Foot, Kramnick (1987). p 65.
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Paine, Thomas (1986) , Kramnick, Isaac, ed., Common Sense, New York: Penguin Classics, ISBN 0-14-039016-2
- Foot, Michael and Kramnick, Isaac, eds. (1987). The Thomas Paine Reader. Penguin Classics. ISBN 0-14-044496-3
- Liell, Scott. 46 Pages: Tom Paine, Common Sense, and the Turning Point to American Independence. New York: Running Press, 2003.
- Nelson, Craig. Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations. New York: Penguin Books, 2007.
- Conway, Moncure Daniel (1893), The Life of Thomas Paine, Ch. VI.
- Wood, Gordon S. (2002), The American Revolution: A History, New York: Modern Library, ISBN 0-679-64057-6
- Aldridge, A. Owen (1984), Thomas Paine's American ideology, University of Delaware Press, ISBN 0-874-13260-6
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:Common Sense (pamphlet)|
- "Common Sense: The Rhetoric of Popular Democracy" lesson plan for grades 9-12 from National Endowment for the Humanities
- Common Sense, complete text in various formats with audio
- On Line Full Text Google Books Scan & downloadable PDF
- At ushistory.org
- Project Gutenberg: #147 & #3755