American Revolutionary War

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1776 Jan 10

Common Sense

Philadelphia, PA, USA

On January 10, 1775, "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine was published. The pamphlet was a call to arms for the American colonies to declare their independence from British rule. Paine wrote in a clear and persuasive style, making a case for American independence that was easily understood by the average person.

The main argument Paine makes in "Common Sense" is that the American colonies should break away from British rule because they are not truly represented in the British government and are instead being unfairly governed by a distant and corrupt monarchy. He argues that the idea of a "virtual representation" in which the colonists are supposed to be represented by British members of parliament is a fallacy and that the colonists should instead govern themselves.

Paine also makes the case that the colonies have the natural right to govern themselves, citing the fact that the colonies are separated by a wide ocean from Britain and have their own distinct societies, economies, and interests. He argues that the colonists have the ability to create a just and equal society based on the principles of democracy and republicanism.

Paine also criticizes the idea of monarchy and hereditary rule, arguing that it is unjust and a relic of a bygone era. He instead argues that government should be based on the consent of the governed and should be a republic governed by elected representatives.

The pamphlet was widely read and had a major influence on the American revolution, helping to mobilize support for independence. It was an instant success, with 50,000 copies distributed in the colonies within three months of publication. This work is considered as one of the most influential pamphlet on the American Revolution and on the course of Western history.