Throughout history, some books have changed the world They have transformed the way we see ourselves and each other They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted They have enriched lives and destroyed themPublished anonymously in , six months before the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine s 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 audience it went through fifty six editions within a year of publication and its assertive and often caustic style both embodied the democratic spirit he advocated, and converted thousands of citizens to the cause of American independence


10 thoughts on “Common Sense

  1. Angela Blount Angela Blount says:

    Time makesconverts than reason Thomas Paine And with that early quote, this reader steadily became enthralled with a founding father I sincerely wish this novella sized essay had been required reading while I was still in high school or at any point in my education, for that matter Okay, if I m being honest, my teenage self wanted history explained something like this But seriously the read I thought was going to be a necessary slog turned out to be not only insightful, butTime makesconverts than reason Thomas Paine And with that early quote, this reader steadily became enthralled with a founding father I sincerely wish this novella sized essay had been required reading while I was still in high school or at any point in my education, for that matter Okay, if I m being honest, my teenage self wanted history explained something like this But seriously the read I thought was going to be a necessary slog turned out to be not only insightful, but genuinely entertaining Laden with passionate wisdom, scathing wit, and intellectual wherewithal, it s little wonder this renowned pamphlet became the rallying cry for American independence from Britain Paine was as bold as he was brilliant In the context of his time period, it s fascinating to realize he was committing treason by laying out this multi layered argument calling for revolution And he did so without apology 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 It was the most prosperous invention of the Devil ever set on foot for the promotion of idolatry The Heathens paid divine honors to their deceased kings, and the christian world hath improved on the plan by doing the same to their living ones How impious is the title of sacred majesty applied to a worm, who in the midst of splendor is crumbling to dust One of the strongest NATURAL proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, is, that nature disapproves it, otherwise, she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ASS FOR A LION emphasis is mine Oooooh, snapMen 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 In short, monarchy and succession have laid not this or that kingdom only but the world in blood and ashes Tis a form of government which the word of God bears testimony against, and blood will attend it Ofworth is one honest man to society and the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived This is pretty much what he was getting at, in a nutshell I was also somewhat surprised to find that a noteworthy chunk of Paine s reasoning came out of a solid contextual grasp of scripture, along with a propensity for calling out those who d twisted or withheld it for their own purposes 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 For monarchy in every instance is the Popery of government Outspoken political revolutionary Champion of equality Solicitor of common sense Thomas Paine is a true national treasure an intrepid man whose tongue be both silver and sharp.Okayso, it s possible I ve developed a small crush on a guy who died 200 years ago I only regret that I didn t get to this piece of work sooner It s put me in a mood to brush up on American History


  2. Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast) Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast) says:

    NO NO NO NOOOOO NOPE.DRY DRIER THAN AN ANCIENT RAISIN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ATACAMA DESERT DRY AND BORING AS FUCK Driest desert in the world, located in South America just West of the Andes Average of 0.6 inches 15 mm rainfall per year Extremely arid and lifeless Just like this essay NO NO NO NOOOOO NOPE.DRY DRIER THAN AN ANCIENT RAISIN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ATACAMA DESERT DRY AND BORING AS FUCK Driest desert in the world, located in South America just West of the Andes Average of 0.6 inches 15 mm rainfall per year Extremely arid and lifeless Just like this essay


  3. Iris P Iris P says:

    In observance of Independence Day I decided to read something to help me widen my knowledge on the history of the American Revolution.Common Sense is 48 page pamphlet written by Thomas Paine, but published anonymously in January 10, 1776 The document which was published right at the beginning of the American Revolution argues in favor of America s independence from Great Britain.Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, was born in England He was a political activist, philosophe In observance of Independence Day I decided to read something to help me widen my knowledge on the history of the American Revolution.Common Sense is 48 page pamphlet written by Thomas Paine, but published anonymously in January 10, 1776 The document which was published right at the beginning of the American Revolution argues in favor of America s independence from Great Britain.Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, was born in England He was a political activist, philosopher and revolutionary Like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, Paine s ideas were highly influenced by the Enlightenment movement.239 years after it s publication, I found this short document interesting, remarkably accessible and easy to follow 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.Paine estimated thatthan 500,000 copies of Common Sense had been sold, but many experts believe that this number is wildly inflated especially considering the total size of the population among the 13 Colonies and that there s not way to know for sure how many copies were distributed.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 It s considered to this day one of the most influential political documents in American history.It s said that Washington gave copies of Common Sense to his soldier during battles in an effort to ignite their passion for their cause.Paine stars his argument with a general reflections about government and religion, he later progresses onto the specifics of the colonial situation.He then moves to discuss the differences between government and society, singing the praises and virtues of society and demonizing government and painting it as a necessary evil.Paine spends some time criticizing Britain s political system and makes not effort to hide his disdain for the King and the monarchical political system.On what he calls the evils of monarchy and hereditary succession he says For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever, and though himself might deserve some decent degree of honors of his contemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them Because such an unwise, unjust, unnatural compact might perhaps in the next succession put them under the government of a rogue or a fool Paine then moves to specifically address why the current time is the best to break from Britain He believes that the colonies have nothing to gain and everything to lose by remaining under the King s rule He mentions that by obtaining independence America could then move to continue doing business with Britain but also with the rest of Europe.He proposes that the best political system for America would be that of a Representative democracy in which every colony has equal representation.If you are interested in American history and want to learn a little bit about the American political zeitgeist of the times and I would argue even of the present times , Common Sense is a mandatory read.On a completely separate note but still keeping with the patriotic theme of this review here s a shout out to the US Women s Soccer team Go USA


  4. Stephen Stephen says:

    4.5 stars Scathing, derogatory rhetoric directed at the King of England in particular and the British in general designed to arouse the passions of the American colonists to embrace the idea of independence from Britian From that standpoint, very few books in history have been as successful in achieving its goal 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 A tru 4.5 stars Scathing, derogatory rhetoric directed at the King of England in particular and the British in general designed to arouse the passions of the American colonists to embrace the idea of independence from Britian From that standpoint, very few books in history have been as successful in achieving its goal 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 A truly American writing and one that everyone shouod read from time to time


  5. Sara Sara says:

    I feel a bit ashamed that this is the first time that I have read Common Sense in its entirety It is a piece of American history that deserves our attention and respect It is easy to see why it affected people of its time in the way that it did, as it is clearly and simply written and sets forth in undeniable logic the issues in question at the time Masterfully titled, Paine s points do indeed seem to be common sense I was particularly struck by his deft destruction of the divine right of ki I feel a bit ashamed that this is the first time that I have read Common Sense in its entirety It is a piece of American history that deserves our attention and respect It is easy to see why it affected people of its time in the way that it did, as it is clearly and simply written and sets forth in undeniable logic the issues in question at the time Masterfully titled, Paine s points do indeed seem to be common sense I was particularly struck by his deft destruction of the divine right of kings and the portion of the pamphlet that dealt with the construction of a navy I cannot believe that, had I been a citizen of this time, I would have hesitated to grasp his logic and embrace the ideas he put forth.He is often credited with having a huge influence on the decision that was taken by many to risk everything in order to sever ties with George III and win independence from English rule While his writing was passionate, his thoughts were solid and did not smack of any unbridled dislike of the English as much as a thoughtful study of the problem and an almost unavoidable conclusion.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 I wonder what theestablished founding fathers thought of that, since many had already been here for generations.I think you have to give this 5 s for its historical value, its impact, and its writing style


  6. Els Els says:

    That was a wonderful ride And yes, I tried to resist using this gif especially since the line itself isn t historically accurate Thomas Paine published his world changing pamphlet anonymously Desperately But I couldn t help ita corset maker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclinationDoesn t he just look like the sort who would spin around in his non existent swivel chair, arms in the air, squealingBUUURRRRRNNNNNwheneve That was a wonderful ride And yes, I tried to resist using this gif especially since the line itself isn t historically accurate Thomas Paine published his world changing pamphlet anonymously Desperately But I couldn t help ita corset maker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclinationDoesn t he just look like the sort who would spin around in his non existent swivel chair, arms in the air, squealingBUUURRRRRNNNNNwhenever he wrote a snarky, hard hitting line I think so too Could he have been a serious human, with the weight of a faultily governed world on his shoulders Yes Do I choose to picture him squealing about snark anyway Yes.The truth is, whether he meant to or not, Paine came across as glorious sass I was listening to this on audio while cleaning up dead dinosaurs, of course, but I may have laughed aloud on multiple occasions Don t ask when you finally visit my museum and see the gash across a priceless specimen It s much easier to blame a long dead inclined propagandist and walk past Please.So here s a nice little summary aka a review aka why I started typing in this little box anyway Here goes I Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, With Concise Remarks on the English ConstitutionPuh lease guys have you even read the British Constitution You re smoked And Monarchy s what s burning 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 1 Ahem Actually, he makes perfect sense and writes everything out logically But pretty sure that s what he would have said if it was allowed.II Of Monarchy and Hereditary SuccessionYes fine I ll continue to be serious THE BIBLE SAYS SO There Satisfied now, pacifists No Well, we must work on this prepares lengthy thesis on the true anti monarchial substance of the Old Testament sweetly honeys it down your throat like it Ehem Ah, yes, it has a wait for it BUUUUURRRRRNNN quotes Thomas Paine would aggressively disown, pt 2 In England, a king hath littleto 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 Ofworth 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.A section on why hereditary succession makes no sense, with the aforementioned Old Testament thesis, along with the refutation of it prevents civil wars, by, of course, harping incredulously on the Wars of the Roses and the other 832 civil wars England s been through.III Thoughts on the Present State of American AffairsSERIOUSLY, Y ALL HAVE YOU LOOKED AT THE FACT THAT WE RE ALREADY FIGHTING THE BRITISHWhat s the point to shed blood over one tax law when we could just get our independence while we re at it It ll be a quick and painless transition and your grandchildren will thank you Or curse you, if you don t stop and LISTEN TO ME 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 It was an inevitable break, as Paine mentions in pt II, and at a later date it could have only been messier and leaving us with a worse government yes, it s possible IV On the Present Ability of America, With Some Miscellaneous ReflectionsWOULD YA STOP TALKING ABOUT THE NAVY Thanks Guess who builtBritain s navy Yes, us There s about enough forest left over there for two ships It s a big reason they colonized here in the first place, nincompoops We are currently exporting sailcloth and timber and we have the largest ship factories in the world STAHP GIVING THE BRITISH OUR NAVY AND LET US USE IT But seriously, remind me why we even need a big navy anyway Aren t the British kinda at war with thirty other countries right now They CAN T send their whole navy at us quotes Thomas Paine would aggressively disown, pt 4Basically, we are, in fact, able to fight as evidenced by the fact that we are already fighting so let s actually fight for a reason Peoples Come on So there you have it The United States of America a birthing guide 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 well, it s up to you to decide Go read it


  7. Paula W Paula W says:

    Most Americans have at least a general knowledge of the events that sparked the American Revolution 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 This set off an intense debate about the colonists being taxed without representation, culminating in the Boston Tea Party As p Most Americans have at least a general knowledge of the events that sparked the American Revolution 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 This set off an intense debate about the colonists being taxed without representation, culminating in the Boston Tea Party As punishment, Parliament did away with Massachusetts s self governing rights and shut down Boston commerce in 1774 This ignited protests and acts of defiance throughout the 13 colonies, and the war officially started in April 1775 when the British came by sea, famously heralded throughout the colonies by Paul Revere.When the first edition of Common Sense was published in January 1776, the Seige of Boston was still ongoing Many people were outraged by British actions but wanted a reconciliation while many other colonists were deeply religious and believed wholeheartedly in the divinity of the monarchy 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 He outlined how presidential and congressional elections might work He described the advantages of their location, natural resources, and acquired resources He wrapped up with a condemnation on the morals, intelligence, and manhood of anyone who thought independence was a bad idea It s brilliantly written, even if you don t agree with the content Complex concepts are thrown out and then explained with metaphors and stories so that the colonists could understand Much of it is written via the style of a Southern Baptist fire and brimstone Sunday church sermon Before long, everyone who was anyone, and everyone who was no one, were reading this piece, and not just in the colonies It became a bit of an international success, too And it was exactly what was needed at exactly the right time 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 We have Thomas Paine to thank for giving us a shot


  8. Daniel Daniel says:

    Something everyone should read, study and learn to understand This pamphlet made a new world We need such men to stand and inspire us to do the same once again.


  9. Moonkiszt Moonkiszt says:

    Having never read this oft mentioned founding document, I dove in.It took awhile to acclimatize, to the language, to gather facts and fictions about the era and population Thomas Paine addresses in his famous work, but I got the gist of it I found inspiration and wisdom in it I recognized so many phrases and sentiments that rang true, although I am not of his time It is clear I have been carefully taught these things my entire life That stuns me, a little, waving in my free brain thoughts ta Having never read this oft mentioned founding document, I dove in.It took awhile to acclimatize, to the language, to gather facts and fictions about the era and population Thomas Paine addresses in his famous work, but I got the gist of it I found inspiration and wisdom in it I recognized so many phrases and sentiments that rang true, although I am not of his time It is clear I have been carefully taught these things my entire life That stuns me, a little, waving in my free brain thoughts tagged by nervous flags that of these I should take note, should consider, should ponder on that Truth or taught It resonates within me as truthful and real, so I m going with that Thanks for that mighty act of persuasion, Mr Paine


  10. Yara (The Narratologist) Yara (The Narratologist) says:

    I ve been reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine So men say that I m intense or I m insane You want a revolution I want a revelation So listen to my declaration We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, And when I meet Thomas Jefferson Imma compel him to include women in the sequel Work Yes, I did pick up this pamphlet because I am obsessed with the musical Hamilton what can I say, I can relate to men thinking that you re intense and or insane , and I am so I ve been reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine So men say that I m intense or I m insane You want a revolution I want a revelation So listen to my declaration We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, And when I meet Thomas Jefferson Imma compel him to include women in the sequel Work Yes, I did pick up this pamphlet because I am obsessed with the musical Hamilton what can I say, I can relate to men thinking that you re intense and or insane , and I am so glad that I did Common Sense is a remarkable read that holds up incredibly well, and worth reading for anyone interested in history or political philosophy Who d have thought that an eighteenth century political essay would make me laugh out loud multiple times Read More