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Thomas Paine's Common Sense first appeared on January 10, 1776, and the stroke of luck it enjoyed upon its appearance could hardly have been calculated to greater effect. The political tract immediately became the moral and intellectual touchstone for American colonists struggling to articulate their case for independence from England. It sold over 120,000 copies within three months of its publication.
The United States of America owes its existence in part to the incendiary brilliance of the work. Common Sense challenged the authority of the British government and the royal monarchy and was the first document to openly ask for independence. The extensive introduction describes the background of the American Revolution; the life, career, and ideology of Paine; and the argument of Common Sense. Â
About The Author Alan Taylor is Professor of History at the University of California at Davis. He is the author of several books, including William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History and the Bancroft Prize for American History.
Reviews Library Journal
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"O! ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth!'' Published by Thomas Paine in 1776, Common Sense was one of the most famous political treatises from the literature of the American Revolution. Passionately brilliant and logical, written in simple language that all could understand, it urged that immediate separation from England was crucial to the freedom of the patriots and a pivotal point in world history. The extensive introduction by Gregory Tietjen describes the background of the American Revolution and the life, career, and ideology of Paine.
This is a MUST reading for all. The author jolts our memories and puts into logical prospect what is happening to our freedoms. How we got to where we are and where we probably are going if we just sit back and complain silently. I especially appreciate that the original Thomas Paine Common Sense is printed at the back of book. I will insist my children read it and pass it on to my grandchildren as well.
Common Sense is the best explaination to the fight for American Independence. Every reason for the break is stated so elequently in Common Sense, and the Student of the American Revolution needs this book to understand the heart of the matter. It is also good for ones seeking life's lessons.
This should be required reading for all HS students.It's not a fast read but one of the most important. We will see what our founders wanted - a true Republic-the power belongs to the people NOT the government.Are we now giving up our power to the government?
Read An Excerpt Of the Origin and Design of Government in General. With Concise Remarks on the English Constitution Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a
country without government, our calamities are heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least.
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