Thomas Paine's Common Sense

Thomas Paine's Common Sense

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  • Encouragement by the Doctor
  • Paine, please write a pamphlet/essay about independence, but don't use the word independence.    
  • Okay, Docter.
  • A fear of independence.
  • I'd really like England to give us much more independence, to be honest. 
  • Oh good point.
  • Okay, this might be a tiny problem. 
  • I really don't think so, me and many other colonists think it's unnerving. We might complain about the rules of the British, but separating from them scares us. 
  • Trouble Publishing
  • Hello, sir, Can you please publish my essay?
  • Uh...No thank you Thomas, I checked it over, and the topic is just to much for me.  
  • Dr. Benjamin Rush encouraged Paine to write a pamphlet on independence, though he cautioned him not to use that word. 
  • Paine gets his pamphlet Out
  • Hey, everybody, Thomas Paine's Common Sense is a major seller now! It is really well made and makes you wonder about England's treatment of us! We really recommend  Paine's great and powerful work!
  • Unfortunately for Paine, the idea of independence made many colonists uneasy. They might complain about British rule, but the prospect of separating from Great Britain scared them.
  • Benjamin's Thoughts
  • Well, good job to Thomas, he really got the ideas independence out (even though he didn't use the word). till his pamphlet put it all together for people in one place it was  “like stones in a field, useless 'til collected and arranged in a building.”  I wonder how he is doing now?
  • By December, Paine had finished his essay, but he had trouble getting it published. The subject of independence was just too hot for many publishers to handle. 
  • Independence is a Possibility
  • Thank you Paine, for inspiring us to stand up to Great Britain! It really helped us!
  • Oh, why thank you, citizens. (And I can gladly say, is possible.)
  • After Paine eventually got Common Sense published, by the end of the year, 25 editions had been printed. Hundreds of thousands of copies were in circulation throughout the colonies. It is estimated that as many as half of all colonial citizens had either read the pamphlet or had it read to them. Common Sense was a runaway success, and Thomas Paine was America's first bestselling author.
  • Although Paine's words were powerful, his ideas were not new. Many other colonial leaders, such as Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, had expressed similar thoughts. But Paine was able to put those ideas together in a single, compelling argument that spoke to a mass audience. As Benjamin Rush noted, the ideas that Paine put forth in Common Sense had previously lain “like stones in a field, useless 'til collected and arranged in a building.”
  • I mean the concept is nothing new, but he had a different approach to it. 
  • Common Sense did not start the movement for independence. That movement had been building for some time. Nor did it cause colonial leaders to declare independence. Another six months would pass before the Declaration of Independence was issued. But Paine's work opened up the debate on separation from Great Britain. It helped many colonists see independence as a real possibility.
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