Thomas Paine - The Power of Common Sense

Thomas Paine - The Power of Common Sense
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  • What shall I write?
  • On November 30, 1774, the ship London Packet arrived in the port of Philadelphia. On board was a 37-year-old Englishman named Thomas Paine.
  • I should name my article Common Sense!
  • Paine was not even aware that he had landed in America. He was burning up with fever and was barely conscious. He had caught the deadly disease typhus, which had already killed several people on board.
  • Thankyou for publishing my essay.
  • No Problem!
  • Yeah!
  • With the help of Franklin's introduction, Paine soon landed a job as the editor of a new magazine. He had already done some writing in England. But it was here that he discovered his true calling as a writer.
  • Independence!
  • In October 1775, he began working on the essay he would call Common Sense.
  • Eventually, however, Paine found a publisher who agreed to print a thousand copies as a pamphlet. It was 46 pages long. The pamphlet did not have Paine's name on the cover, but simply said, “written by an Englishman.” On January 10, 1776, Common Sense appeared in bookstores.
  • Although Paine's words were powerful, his ideas were not new. Many other colonial leaders, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, 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.
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