Thomas Paine Common Sense

ISBN 13: 9781629100579

Common Sense

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The most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era". 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, 2.5 million Americans, 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.

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About the Author:

Thomas Paine 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 inspired the America Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain.

Review:

"Edward Larkin's new edition of Common Sense will be welcomed by readers. With a lively and detailed introduction, thorough scholarly notes, and a representative selection of the contemporaneous responses it provoked, this should become the definitive new edition of Paine's classic tract." (Richard Boyd )

"The big problem with Paine is that current readers have trouble seeing why his ideas did not seem so common-sensical to eighteenth-century people. Larkin addresses this problem with supplementary texts that focus on the debate over independence in America; along with his interesting and approachable introduction, the combination makes for the best edition of Paine's Common Sense available." (Daniel Vickers )

"There are many fine editions of this indispensable American text. But this one is richer and more rewarding than the others. It invites readers to encounter Common Sense in the fullness of its historical setting. And as it does, it makes plain how utterly Tom Paine towered above all other Revolutionary writers." (Michael W. Zuckerman )

"Edward Larkin's new edition of Tom Paine's Common Sense will be a boon to teachers and students. It thoughtfully contextualizes Paine's pamphlet while highlighting the singularity of his voice. Most importantly, it will aid students in placing Common Sense in that absolutely central eighteenth-century culture war: the beginning of the unfinished argument over modern democracy." (Michael Meranze ) --Michael Meranze

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