Common Sense (Paperback)
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Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, during the American Revolution. Common Sense, signed "Written by an Englishman", became an immediate success. In relation to the population of the Colonies at that time, it had the largest sale and circulation of any book in American history. Common Sense presented the American colonists with an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of independence was still undecided. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood; forgoing the philosophy and Latin references used by Enlightenment era writers, Paine structured Common Sense like a sermon and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people. He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity. Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as, "the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era." This book is annotated with a biography about the life and times of Paine, and a critical essay.