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COMMON SENSE Thomas Paine. January 10, 1776 Rallying, Influencing, Motivating. Thomas Paine. Born in Britain, January 29 1737 Self taught Immigrated to America 1774 Involved in American political life.

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January 10, 1776

Rallying, Influencing, Motivating.

Thomas Paine

  • Born in Britain, January 29 1737

  • Self taught

  • Immigrated to America 1774

  • Involved in American political life

  • The bearer Mr Thomas Pain[e] is very well recommended to me as an ingenious worthy young man. -Benjamin Franklin.

I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense, Argued strongly for COMPLETE American Independence, Not just freedom from British Taxation

  • Revolutionary war Pamphlet

  • English, 48 pages

  • First Published anonymously January 10, 1776

  • Printed & sold by R. Bell, Third street Philadelphia

  • Sold 500,000 copies in first year & 25 editions

  • Precursor to the Declaration of Independence, which was written six months later.

How did Common Sensesucceed in inspiring so much revolutionary feeling?

  • Used forceful everyday language, influencing both Blue & white collar attack the idea that the British King should rule the American Colonies

  • American independence would be a victory for humans everywhere

  • Words convinced many Americans' that the cause of independence was a just one.

  • Played a central role in rallying public opinion, Convinced many who were unsure of the purpose of the war

  • The sun never shined on a greater cause of worth, tis not the concern of a day, a year or an age. Prosperity will be affected, even to the end of time T. Paine.

  • There is something very absurd in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island,

  • We may as well assert that because a child has thrived upon milk, that it is never to have meat. - T. Paine

Chapter I. Of the Origin and Design of Government in general, with concise Remarks on the English Constitution.

  • Introduces idea that there is a difference between Government and Society.

  • 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- T. Paine

Chapter 2 - Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession

  • Paine argues that all men are born equal and there should be no distinction between kings and subjects.

  • In England a king hath little more to do than to make war and give away places; []A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.

    -Thomas Paine

Chapter 3 - Thoughts on the present State of American Affairs.

  • Examines hostilities between American Colonies and Britain.

  • Argues for independence.

  • Continental Charter "should come from some intermediate body between the Congress and the people [we must ensure] freedom and property to all men, and the free exercise of religion.

Constitution of the United States as proposed by Thomas Paine in Common Sense

Chapter 4 On the Present Ability of America, with some Miscellaneous Reflections.,

  • Paine's optimistic view of America's military potential.

  • It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies; yet our present numbers are sufficient to repel th force of all the world

  • T. Paine

Paines PAIN.

  • It was absurd for an island to rule a continent.

  • America was not a British nation

  • Britain the "mother country" should take better care of its child, the colonies.

  • Being a part of Britain would drag America into unnecessary European wars,

  • The distance

  • Puritans believed that God wanted to give them a safe haven from the persecution of British rule.

  • Britain ruled the colonies for its own benefit, and would not let the colonies have a say

Common Sense Succeeds?

  • The instant formal government is abolished, society begins to act. A general association takes place, and common interest produces common security

  • It is not a field or a few acres of ground, but a cause that we are defending, and whether we defeat the enemy in one battle or by degrees, the consequences will be the same.

  • It is the direction and not the magnitude which is to be taken into consideration

  • Lead, follow, or get out of the way

  • Until an independence is declared the continent will feel itself like a man who continues putting off some unpleasant business [] continually haunted with the thoughts of its necessity.

  • Crucial in turning American opinion against Britain and was one of the key factors in the colonies' decision to engage in a battle for complete independence

  • Continental congress in 1774 not all convinced that complete independence was desirable.

  • "Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain. Adams, John.

Success again

  • December, 1776, New Jersey

  • [to] reap the blessings of freedom, [we] must undergo the fatigue to support it

  • These are the times that try mens souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.T. Paine


  • Thomas Paine created written revolution

  • Common Sense forever renowned as instruction, motivational, and revolutionary

  • He INDEED created feeling of revolution.

  • To say that any people are not fit for freedom, is to make poverty their choice, and to say they had rather been loaded with taxes than not.-T. Paine

Bibliography - Textual

  • Paine, Thomas, 2004, Common Sense, Penguin Books, Suffolk, England. - Primary Source

  • Paine, Thomas, Rights of Man, 2006, Allen & Unwin, Sydney Australia-Primary Source

  • Nelson, Craig, Thomas Paine; His Life, His Time and the Birth of Modern Nations, Profile books, 2006, London England

Bibliography - Web

  • SparkNotes Editors. SparkNote on Common Sense. SparkNotes LLC. n.d.. (accessed March 22, 2011). < >

  • Lepore, Jill, 2006, Was Thomas Paine too much of a freethinker for the country he helped free? (accessed March 22, 2011).


  • Many artists, 2009, Oil Painting Reproduction of Thomas Paine. (accessed 4/4/11) <>

  • tcmsmontulli1-2a, 2007, Commonsensepamphletcpoy[1](accessed 4/4/11)

  • Gauthier-Pilote, Mathieu, 2007, Diagram representing the constitution of the United States as proposed by Thomas Paine in Common Sense (accessed 4/4/11) <>

Bibliography - Videos

  • Wiley Studios, 2010, The Wisdom of Thomas Paine (Accessed: 3/4/11)

  • How Stuff Works, 1998, Assignment Discovery: Thomas Paine. (Accessed: 3/4/11)

  • Goldenage, 2008, The American Revolution: Common Sense (Accessed: 3/4/11)

  • Jwhitlockhale, 2009, Thomas Paine's Common Sense,(Accessed: 11/4/11) <>

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