Common Sense Quotes by Thomas Paine
History Brief: Thomas Paine's Common Sense
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In these excerpts from the famous pamphlet Common Sense , Thomas Paine makes the case for independence from Britain. The alleged benefits of British rule, Paine asserts, are actually liabilities; he cites unfair trade policies and American entanglement in Britain's foreign wars. Published anonymously on January 10, , the work spread quickly through the colonies , were said to have been distributed within three months , and went on to become one of the most famous documents of the American Revolution. In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense. I have heard it asserted by some, that as America has flourished under her former connection with Great-Britain, the same connection is necessary towards her future happiness, and will always have the same effect. Nothing can be more fallacious than this kind of argument. We may as well assert that because a child has thrived upon milk, that is never to have meat, or that the first twenty years of our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty.
Although little used today, pamphlets were an important medium for the spread of ideas in the 16th through 19th centuries. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither they have fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still. Paine was born in England in and worked as a corset maker in his teens and, later, as a sailor and schoolteacher before becoming a prominent pamphleteer. In , Paine arrived in Philadelphia and soon came to support American independence. Two years later, his page pamphlet sold some , copies, powerfully influencing American opinion. Paine went on to serve in the U.
Advisor: Robert A. Copyright National Humanities Center, By January , the American colonies were in open rebellion against Britain. Yet few dared voice what most knew was true — they were no longer fighting for their rights as British subjects. They were fighting for independence.
Common Sense  was a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in — advocating independence from Great Britain to people in the Thirteen Colonies. Writing in clear and persuasive prose, Paine marshaled moral and political arguments to encourage common people in the Colonies to fight for egalitarian government.
On January 10, , while the Second Continental Congress was deliberating on the future of the "united colonies," a page pamphlet was put out for sale. Simply titled Common Sense , it became a publishing phenomenon, a best-seller in its time. The first printing sold out in two weeks and over , copies were sold throughout America and Europe. Written by Thomas Paine, an unknown Englishman who had emigrated only fifteen months earlier, it burst upon the scene like a meteor—a "disastrous meteor," wrote John Adams, who felt Paine's inflammatory call for independence would undermine the deliberative work of the Continental Congress. While Paine's basic message—abandon the goal of reconciliation and declare independence—was not new, he went much further.