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  • Dr. Benjamin Rush encouraged Paine to write a pamphlet on independence, though he cautioned him not to use that word. 
  • The idea of independence made many colonists uneasy. They might complain about British rule, but the prospect of separating from Great Britain scared them.
  • I have an idea......
  • As one Paine biographer wrote, “Common Sense could be considered the first American self-help book, the help being for those who could never imagine life without a monarch.”
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  • Paine argued that the colonists should unite around a common goal, to create a self-governing nation based on principles of liberty. “We have it in our power to begin the world over again,” he wrote.
  • 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. 
  • 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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