Thomas Paine Common Sense

Thomas Paine Common Sense

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  • You should go to Pennsylvania, here are some letters of reference, you are quite ingenious.
  • Okay!
  • You should write something about independence, but don't use the word independence!
  • Okay!
  • Will you publish my pamphlet about independence, but not really about independence?
  • Okay!
  • Franklin encouraged Paine to move to Pennsylvania and gave him letters of reference, calling him “an ingenious, worthy young man.”
  • Wow! This pamphlet is amazing!
  • Dr. Benjamin Rush encouraged Paine to write a pamphlet on independence, though he cautioned him not to use that word.
  • 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.
  • The first edition sold out in days. Paine had more copies printed, and those sold out, too. Within a few months, readers had bought more than 120,000 copies of Common Sense. 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 did not start the movement for independence. That movement had been building for some time.
  • 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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