Thomas Paine's Common Sense

To be ignorant of history is to remain always a child - Cicero
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On January 10, 1776, Thomas Paine published a pamphlet called Common Sense.

In the pamphlet, he spoke openly of independence from Britain and urged a government in which the people ruled through their elected representatives.

The booklet was widely circulated and was very influential.

More Common Sense


Common Sense
by Thomas Paine

"O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia, and Africa, have long expelled her. Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind."

One Loyalist response to Thomas Paine's Common Sense was Plain Truth by "Candidus" (his real identity was probably James Chalmers)

He challenged the idea that democracy is the best form of government:

"The demagogues to seduce the people into their criminal designs ever hold up democracy to them.... If we examine the republics of Greece and Rome, we ever find them in a state of war domestic or foreign.... Apian's history of the civil wars of Rome, contains the most frightful picture of massacres.... that ever were presented to the world."

And he reminded readers of all that Britain  had done for them:

"The people of England, encouraged by the extension of their laws and commerce to those colonies, powerfully assisted our merchants and planters, insomuch, that our settlements increased rapidly.... It may be affirmed, that from this period, until the present unhappy hour; no part of human kind, ever experienced more perfect felicity. Voltaire indeed says, that if ever the Golden Age existed, it was in Pennsylvania."

Thomas Paine's American Crisis - primary source

Part of These United Colonies: The American War of Independence exhibit

The American Revolution

American Revolution Primary Sources

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