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Published On: Fri, Jan 10th, 2014

This Day in History: Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense January 10, 1776

The “book” which inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776 was published on this day 238 years ago.

Thomas Paine’s Common Sense was an immediate sensation. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places. General George Washington had it read to all his troops, which at the time had surrounded the British army in Boston.

Paine’s famous words roared like a trumpet through the colonies – The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.

Other popular quotes:

Society is produced by our wants, and government by 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.

A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.

Time makes more converts than reason.

From the errors of other nations, let us learn wisdom…

Paine’s concise and concentrated pamphlet impacted the colonists in ways only felt by a people oppressed by tyranny. His ardent call for independence affected everyone from the Founding Fathers to the common folk who had joined Washington’s army to fight the British.

It influenced people from all walks of life to jump off the fence and become Patriots, to say “Yes!” to separation, and to embrace the coming fight for freedom.

Read Common Sense HERE

Scan of cover of Common Sense, the pamphlet.

Scan of cover of Common Sense, the pamphlet.

 

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