Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine

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  • Wow this is the Biggest city I have ever seen!
  • I just landed this Job as an editor. I have finally found my calling.
  • So you want me to write a pamphlet on independence?
  • Yes! But do not use that word.
  • Paine had arrived in the largest and most prosperous city in colonial America. Philadelphia was a bustling place of around 30,000 people and the third largest port in the British Empire. Set along the banks of the Delaware River, Philadelphia was the financial and cultural capital of the colonies.
  • I am sorry sir but we can't publish your pamphlet.
  • These people are to attached to Great Britain
  • 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.
  • I will publish your pamphlet but we will not put your name on it just an written by an Englishman.
  • One of these readers was Benjamin Rush, a doctor who would later play a key role in the independence struggle. Rush encouraged Paine to write a pamphlet on independence, though he cautioned him not to use that word.
  • But it finally shows us that we can be free!
  • I think I have heard these ideas before.
  • 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. As Paine noted at the time, colonists were so attached to Great Britain that it was “a kind of treason to speak against it.”
  • 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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