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Publication of Common Sense
"Common Sense was a pamphlet first published on January 10, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War by Thomas Paine. Its pages contained a denouncement of British rule.
Arguments against British rule in Common Sense:
- It was ridiculous for an island to rule a continent
- America was not a "British nation"; it was composed of influences from all of Europe
- Even if Britain was the "mother country" of America, that made her actions all the more horrendous, for no mother would harm her children so brutally
- Being a part of Britain would drag America into unnecessary European wars, and keep it from the international commerce at which America excelled.
- The distance between the two nations made the lag in time about a year for something to go round trip. If there was something wrong in the government, it would take a year before the new America heard back.
- The New World was discovered shortly after the Reformation. This showed the Puritans that He wanted to give them a safe haven from the persecution of British rule.
The publication of this pamphlet was key in the growth of popular support for independence from Britain. Thomas Jefferson took ideas from both this publication and John Locke when writing the Declaration of Independence.
Less-quoted sections of the pamphlet include Paine's over-optimistic view of America's military potential at the time of the Revolution. For example, he spends pages describing how colonial shipyards, by using the large amounts of lumber available in the country, could quickly create a navy that could rival the Royal Navy.
'Common Sense' was tremendously popular. John Taylor Gatto has reported that 'Thomas Paine’s Common Sense sold 600,000 copies to a population of 3,000,000, 20 percent of whom were slaves and 50 percent indentured servants.'"