In 1776 Thomas Paine Publishes Common Sense On this Day

In 1776 Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense on this day. This pamphlet presented his arguments in favor of American independence. He openly challenged the authority of the British government and the royal monarchy. Paine wrote this pamphlet in very plain language – especially to reach the common man. This pamphlet was the first to publicly ask for independence from Great Britain.


Americans would not be able to break their ties with Britain easily. Even considering all the challenges they were experiencing, they were still raised to believe that the motherland of England was to protected and loved. Not to mention the element of fear. Rebellions had occurred with Irish rebels and they were dealt with harshly. So they were probably not terribly interested in risking that!

Common Sense was published in January 1776 in Philadelphia and close to 120,000 copies were in circulation by April. Paine presented brilliant arguments which were very straightforward. In this pamphlet he presents two primary points…  independence from England and the creation of a democratic republic. He structured Common Sense as a sermon, and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people.  He presented King George as “the Pharaoh of England” and “the Royal Brute of Great Britain.”

Pained is credited with uniting average citizens and political leaders behind the idea of independence and his pamphlet “Common Sense” was the match that lit the fire leading to the American Revolution.

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