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Common Sense: By Thomas Paine & Illustrated (An Audiobook Free!)

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How is this book unique? Free Audiobook Illustrations included Unabridged Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 that inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. The pamphlet explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence in clear, simple lan How is this book unique? Free Audiobook Illustrations included Unabridged Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 that inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. The pamphlet explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence in clear, simple language. It was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution, and became an immediate sensation. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places. Washington had it read to all his troops, which at the time were surrounding the British army in Boston. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history. As of 2006, it remains the all-time best selling American title.


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How is this book unique? Free Audiobook Illustrations included Unabridged Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 that inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. The pamphlet explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence in clear, simple lan How is this book unique? Free Audiobook Illustrations included Unabridged Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 that inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. The pamphlet explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence in clear, simple language. It was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution, and became an immediate sensation. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places. Washington had it read to all his troops, which at the time were surrounding the British army in Boston. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history. As of 2006, it remains the all-time best selling American title.

30 review for Common Sense: By Thomas Paine & Illustrated (An Audiobook Free!)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Angela Blount

    "Time makes more converts than reason." – Thomas Paine And with that early quote, this reader steadily became enthralled with a founding father. I sincerely wish this novella-sized essay had been required reading while I was still in high school—or at any point in my education, for that matter. (Okay, if I'm being honest, my teenage self wanted history explained something like this...) But seriously... the read I thought was going to be a necessary slog turned out to be not only insightful, but "Time makes more converts than reason." – Thomas Paine And with that early quote, this reader steadily became enthralled with a founding father. I sincerely wish this novella-sized essay had been required reading while I was still in high school—or at any point in my education, for that matter. (Okay, if I'm being honest, my teenage self wanted history explained something like this...) But seriously... the read I thought was going to be a necessary slog turned out to be not only insightful, but genuinely entertaining. Laden with passionate wisdom, scathing wit, and intellectual wherewithal, it's little wonder this renowned 'pamphlet' became the rallying cry for American independence from Britain. Paine was as bold as he was brilliant. In the context of his time period, it's fascinating to realize he was committing treason by laying out this multi-layered argument calling for revolution. And he did so without apology. (In fact, there were numerous points where one can't help but suppose Paine was offering the British monarchy the literary equivalent of his middle finger.) * “Male and female are distinctions of nature, good and bad the distinctions of heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth enquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or misery.” * “Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens, from whom the children of Israel copied the custom. It was the most prosperous invention of the Devil ever set on foot for the promotion of idolatry. The Heathens paid divine honors to their deceased kings, and the christian world hath improved on the plan by doing the same to their living ones. How impious is the title of sacred majesty applied to a worm, who in the midst of splendor is crumbling to dust!” * “One of the strongest NATURAL proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, is, that nature disapproves it, otherwise, she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ASS FOR A LION.” (emphasis is mine.) Oooooh, snap! * “Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.” * “In short, monarchy and succession have laid (not this or that kingdom only) but the world in blood and ashes. Tis a form of government which the word of God bears testimony against, and blood will attend it.” * “Of more worth is one honest man to society and the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.” This is pretty much what he was getting at, in a nutshell: I was also somewhat surprised to find that a noteworthy chunk of Paine's reasoning came out of a solid contextual grasp of scripture, along with a propensity for calling out those who'd twisted or withheld it for their own purposes. * “As exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified on the equal rights of nature, so neither can it be defended on the authority of scripture; for the will of the Almighty, as declared by Gideon and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of government by kings.” * “That the Almighty hath here entered his protest against monarchical government is true, or the scripture is false. And a man hath good reason to believe that there is as much king-craft, as priest-craft, in withholding the scripture from the public in Popish countries. For monarchy in every instance is the Popery of government.” --------------- Outspoken political revolutionary. Champion of equality. Solicitor of common sense. Thomas Paine is a true national treasure—an intrepid man whose tongue be both silver and sharp. Okay...so, it's possible I've developed a small crush on a guy who died 200 years ago. >.> I only regret that I didn't get to this piece of work sooner. It's put me in a mood to brush up on American History. :)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    “A pamphlet called ‘Commonsense’ makes a great noise. One of the vilest things that ever was published to the world. Full of false representations, lies, calumny, and treason, whose principles are to subvert all Kingly Governments and erect an Independent Republic.” ~Nicholas Cresswell One could argue that without Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense’ of January 1776, there would be no American Declaration of Independence of July 1776. True there was discontent and animosity between England and Colonial “A pamphlet called ‘Commonsense’ makes a great noise. One of the vilest things that ever was published to the world. Full of false representations, lies, calumny, and treason, whose principles are to subvert all Kingly Governments and erect an Independent Republic.” ~Nicholas Cresswell One could argue that without Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense’ of January 1776, there would be no American Declaration of Independence of July 1776. True there was discontent and animosity between England and Colonial America, but, prior to Paine’s polemic, the prevailing sentiment was weighted toward reconciliation, not rebellion. “Have you read the pamphlet ‘Common Sense?’ I never saw such a masterful performance... In short, I own myself convinced, by the arguments, of the necessity of separation.” ~General Charles Lee Paine himself was originally a British loyalist, but the battles of Lexington and Concord* (April 1775) changed his mind. “No man was a warmer wisher for reconciliation than myself, before the fatal nineteenth of April 1775, but the moment the event of that day was made known, I rejected the hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh of England for ever; and disdain the wretch, that with the pretended title of FATHER OF HIS PEOPLE can unfeelingly hear of their slaughter, and composedly sleep with their blood upon his soul.” (pg 48) Say what you will, Paine was a masterful wordsmith. The simple eloquence and ethical reasoning of Common Sense (which, by the way, he published anonymously) helped transform the collective conscience of the colonies. If ever there was required reading of early American history, this is it. “Of “Common Sense” it can be said, without any risk of cliché, that it was a catalyst that altered the course of history.” ~Christopher Hitchens *NOTE: The Battles of Lexington and Concord were considered a major military victory for King George III and his soldiers. Many colonial minutemen were killed, making it clear that any behavior that was deemed contrary to the King’s interest would not be tolerated.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael O'Brien

    One of the most important works from any writer during the American War for Independence. During the darkest days of the struggle, Gen. George Washington reportedly had Paine's work read to his troops to inspire them to hold on during the months of squalor, danger, cold, and deprivation. I dare say that Paine's works like this one led to America's ultimate victory over the Empire seeking its reconquest. One of the most important works from any writer during the American War for Independence. During the darkest days of the struggle, Gen. George Washington reportedly had Paine's work read to his troops to inspire them to hold on during the months of squalor, danger, cold, and deprivation. I dare say that Paine's works like this one led to America's ultimate victory over the Empire seeking its reconquest.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mia

    12/19/20: This review continues to be a source of great annoyance. Since I can’t mute the comment section, I’ll just put a little message here: don’t comment. I don’t read the comments anymore and I don’t care what you have to say. I don’t want to discuss this silly non-review I wrote when I was 16; I haven’t thought about this particular piece of literature in years. If you’re so terribly offended that a stranger on the internet dislikes a pamphlet written 244 years ago, please consider doing t 12/19/20: This review continues to be a source of great annoyance. Since I can’t mute the comment section, I’ll just put a little message here: don’t comment. I don’t read the comments anymore and I don’t care what you have to say. I don’t want to discuss this silly non-review I wrote when I was 16; I haven’t thought about this particular piece of literature in years. If you’re so terribly offended that a stranger on the internet dislikes a pamphlet written 244 years ago, please consider doing the following: take a deep breath, step away from your computer, go for a walk, reevaluate your life choices, and, failing all that, jump off a cliff. (view spoiler)[NO. NO. NO. NOOOOO. NOPE. DRY. DRIER THAN AN ANCIENT RAISIN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ATACAMA DESERT*. DRY AND BORING AS FUCK. *Driest desert in the world, located in South America just West of the Andes. Average of 0.6 inches (15 mm) rainfall per year. Extremely arid and lifeless. Just like this essay. (hide spoiler)]

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sara (taking a break)

    I feel a bit ashamed that this is the first time that I have read Common Sense in its entirety. It is a piece of American history that deserves our attention and respect. It is easy to see why it affected people of its time in the way that it did, as it is clearly and simply written and sets forth in undeniable logic the issues in question at the time. Masterfully titled, Paine’s points do indeed seem to be common sense. I was particularly struck by his deft destruction of the divine right of ki I feel a bit ashamed that this is the first time that I have read Common Sense in its entirety. It is a piece of American history that deserves our attention and respect. It is easy to see why it affected people of its time in the way that it did, as it is clearly and simply written and sets forth in undeniable logic the issues in question at the time. Masterfully titled, Paine’s points do indeed seem to be common sense. I was particularly struck by his deft destruction of the divine right of kings and the portion of the pamphlet that dealt with the construction of a navy. I cannot believe that, had I been a citizen of this time, I would have hesitated to grasp his logic and embrace the ideas he put forth. He is often credited with having a huge influence on the decision that was taken by many to risk everything in order to sever ties with George III and win independence from English rule. While his writing was passionate, his thoughts were solid and did not smack of any unbridled dislike of the English as much as a thoughtful study of the problem and an almost unavoidable conclusion. One fact that I was surprised by, and did not remember ever having come across in any history class, was that he had only been in America for two years prior to writing this treatise extolling separation. I wonder what the more established “founding fathers” thought of that, since many had already been here for generations. I think you have to give this 5✯'s for its historical value, its impact, and its writing style.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Iris P

    In observance of Independence Day I decided to read something to help me widen my knowledge on the history of the American Revolution. Common Sense is 48 page pamphlet written by Thomas Paine, but published anonymously in January 10, 1776. The document which was published right at the beginning of the American Revolution argues in favor of America's independence from Great Britain. Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, was born in England. He was a political activist, philosophe In observance of Independence Day I decided to read something to help me widen my knowledge on the history of the American Revolution. Common Sense is 48 page pamphlet written by Thomas Paine, but published anonymously in January 10, 1776. The document which was published right at the beginning of the American Revolution argues in favor of America's independence from Great Britain. Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, was born in England. He was a political activist, philosopher and revolutionary. Like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, Paine's ideas were highly influenced by the Enlightenment movement. 239 years after it's publication, I found this short document interesting, remarkably accessible and easy to follow. Pamphlets were sort of like the Blogs of the times, it was a medium widely used to spread ideas and causes from the American Revolution to the Women's Suffrage to the Labor Movement. Paine estimated that more than 500,000 copies of "Common Sense" had been sold, but many experts believe that this number is wildly inflated especially considering the total size of the population among the 13 Colonies and that there's not way to know for sure how many copies were distributed. What remains undisputed is the important role this short document had in convincing many colonists that independence from Britain was the best course of action for America. It's considered to this day one of the most influential political documents in American history. It's said that Washington gave copies of "Common Sense" to his soldier during battles in an effort to ignite their passion for their cause. Paine stars his argument with a general reflections about government and religion, he later progresses onto the specifics of the colonial situation. He then moves to discuss the differences between government and society, singing the praises and virtues of society and demonizing government and painting it as a necessary evil. Paine spends some time criticizing Britain's political system and makes not effort to hide his disdain for the King and the monarchical political system. On what he calls the "evils of monarchy and hereditary succession" he says: For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever, and though himself might deserve some decent degree of honors of his contemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them... Because such an unwise, unjust, unnatural compact might (perhaps) in the next succession put them under the government of a rogue or a fool. Paine then moves to specifically address why the current time is the best to break from Britain. He believes that the colonies have nothing to gain and everything to lose by remaining under the King's rule. He mentions that by obtaining independence America could then move to continue doing business with Britain but also with the rest of Europe. He proposes that the best political system for America would be that of a Representative democracy in which every colony has equal representation. If you are interested in American history and want to learn a little bit about the American political zeitgeist of the times (and I would argue even of the present times), "Common Sense" is a mandatory read. On a completely separate note (but still keeping with the patriotic theme of this review) here's a shout out to the US Women's Soccer team! Go USA!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    4.5 stars. Scathing, derogatory rhetoric directed at the King of England in particular and the British in general designed to arouse the "passions" of the American colonists to embrace the idea of independence from Britian. From that standpoint, very few books in history have been as successful in achieving its goal. Almost 250 years later, this short book (better described as a long essay), still has the power to move you and make you feel the passion of the writer for his subject matter. A tru 4.5 stars. Scathing, derogatory rhetoric directed at the King of England in particular and the British in general designed to arouse the "passions" of the American colonists to embrace the idea of independence from Britian. From that standpoint, very few books in history have been as successful in achieving its goal. Almost 250 years later, this short book (better described as a long essay), still has the power to move you and make you feel the passion of the writer for his subject matter. A truly American writing and one that everyone shouod read from time to time.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Peterson

    14 Feb. 2018 I read this in college in the mid-70s - excellent, and also listened to the audio book version a few years ago. Great little statement about why tyranny must be stopped. Lots of fascinating English and Roman history that will probably be new to modern readers, yet is very important for understanding how the United States came to be. 2022-01-05 As folks who know their American history know, this book helped along the American Revolution greatly. It was by far the best read book of the tim 14 Feb. 2018 I read this in college in the mid-70s - excellent, and also listened to the audio book version a few years ago. Great little statement about why tyranny must be stopped. Lots of fascinating English and Roman history that will probably be new to modern readers, yet is very important for understanding how the United States came to be. 2022-01-05 As folks who know their American history know, this book helped along the American Revolution greatly. It was by far the best read book of the time, except for the bible, of course. It sold possibly a million copies, in the colonies, where the typical estimate of total population was 2.5 million souls at the time. To put that in perspective, since the population of the US today is about 330 million, that would mean this little philosophical/historical/ideological book would sell about 160 million copies!!! What book today comes anywhere close to that? BTW, I recommend reading this book with the current CRT (Critical Racism Theory) in mind. There is a reason the people who think racism is pervasive and crucial in America now never site such founding documents as this book. "These are the times that try men's souls." You've heard that before, I'll bet. Those are the opening words of Paine's far less famous, and less well read, but still very important book, "the Crisis." George Washington thought it so important and well done that he had it read out loud to his troops wintering in freezing Valley Forge, PA, trying to keep their spirits up.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Els

    That was a wonderful ride. And yes, I tried to resist using this gif. (especially since the line itself isn't historically accurate- Thomas Paine published his world-changing pamphlet anonymously.) Desperately. But I couldn't help it. "a corset maker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination!" Doesn't he just look like the sort who would spin around in his non-existent swivel chair, arms in the air, squealing "BUUURRRRRNNNNN!!!!!" wheneve That was a wonderful ride. And yes, I tried to resist using this gif. (especially since the line itself isn't historically accurate- Thomas Paine published his world-changing pamphlet anonymously.) Desperately. But I couldn't help it. "a corset maker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination!" Doesn't he just look like the sort who would spin around in his non-existent swivel chair, arms in the air, squealing "BUUURRRRRNNNNN!!!!!" whenever he wrote a snarky, hard-hitting line? I think so too. Could he have been a serious human, with the weight of a faultily-governed world on his shoulders? Yes. Do I choose to picture him squealing about snark anyway? Yes. The truth is, whether he meant to or not, Paine came across as glorious sass. I was listening to this on audio while cleaning up dead dinosaurs, of course, but I may have laughed aloud on multiple occasions. Don't ask when you finally visit my museum and see the gash across a priceless specimen. It's much easier to blame a long-dead "inclined propagandist" and walk past. Please. So here's a nice little summary... aka a review.... aka why I started typing in this little box anyway. Here goes. I. Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, With Concise Remarks on the English Constitution "Puh-lease guys. have you even read the British Constitution? You're smoked. And Monarchy's what's burning. *cue spin burn session* Only reason I can be 'concise' is because it's COMMON SENSE *wink wink* and when government ain't doing its job, it's time for us to start a war."-- quotes Thomas Paine would aggressively disown, pt. 1 Ahem. Actually, he makes perfect sense and writes everything out logically. But- pretty sure that's what he would have said if it was allowed. II. Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession "Yes fine I'll continue to be serious. THE BIBLE SAYS SO. There. Satisfied now, pacifists? No? Well, we must work on this. *prepares lengthy thesis on the true anti-monarchial substance of the Old Testament* *sweetly honeys it down your throat* like it? Ehem? Ah, yes, it has a... wait for it... BUUUUURRRRRNNN!!!!!!!!"-- quotes Thomas Paine would aggressively disown, pt. 2 "In England, a king hath little more to do than to make war and give away places; which in plain terms, is to impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears. A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived."-- real quotes by Thomas Paine, only used 'cause this one happened to show up under his name. Your loyal biographer aka myself is not going to waste time looking up what I actually read when I could be grossly misrepresenting an important historical figure. A section on why hereditary succession makes no sense, with the aforementioned Old Testament thesis, along with the refutation of "it prevents civil wars," by, of course, harping incredulously on the Wars of the Roses and the other 832 civil wars England's been through. III. Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs "SERIOUSLY, Y'ALL! HAVE YOU LOOKED AT THE FACT THAT WE'RE ALREADY FIGHTING THE BRITISH??? What's the point to shed blood over one tax law when we could just get our independence while we're at it? It'll be a quick and painless transition and your grandchildren will thank you. Or curse you, if you don't stop and LISTEN TO ME!!! Also, I have some great ideas for the American government and constitution."-- quotes Thomas Paine would aggressively disown, pt. 3 *muffled thanks from great-great-great-something-grandchildren* Yes, there was no better time to separate from Britain. It was an inevitable break, as Paine mentions in pt. II, and at a later date it could have only been messier- and leaving us with a worse government. yes, it's possible. IV. On the Present Ability of America, With Some Miscellaneous Reflections "WOULD YA STOP TALKING ABOUT THE NAVY???? Thanks. Guess who built Britain's navy? Yes, us. There's about enough forest left over there for two ships. It's a big reason they colonized here in the first place, nincompoops. We are currently exporting sailcloth and timber and we have the largest ship factories in the world! STAHP GIVING THE BRITISH OUR NAVY AND LET US USE IT!!! But seriously, remind me why we even need a big navy anyway? Aren't the British kinda at war with thirty other countries right now? They CAN'T send their whole navy at us."-- quotes Thomas Paine would aggressively disown, pt. 4 Basically, we are, in fact, able to fight- as evidenced by the fact that we are already fighting- so let's actually fight for a reason? Peoples? Come on. So there you have it! The United States of America: a birthing guide. As a historically significant document, it ranks with the Declaration of Independence; as a well-reasoned thesis, it trumps every college paper I've had the misfortune to read; as a lovely bit of early American sass... well, it's up to you to decide. Go read it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Paula W

    Most Americans have at least a general knowledge of the events that sparked the American Revolution. Long story short (and super simplified) — British Parliament passed the Tea Act in mid 1773 allowing a British tea company to sell basically untaxed tea from China in the colonies while the colonists were still being taxed and therefore forced to sell higher priced tea. This set off an intense debate about the colonists being taxed without representation, culminating in the Boston Tea Party. As p Most Americans have at least a general knowledge of the events that sparked the American Revolution. Long story short (and super simplified) — British Parliament passed the Tea Act in mid 1773 allowing a British tea company to sell basically untaxed tea from China in the colonies while the colonists were still being taxed and therefore forced to sell higher priced tea. This set off an intense debate about the colonists being taxed without representation, culminating in the Boston Tea Party. As punishment, Parliament did away with Massachusetts’s self-governing rights and shut down Boston commerce in 1774. This ignited protests and acts of defiance throughout the 13 colonies, and the war officially started in April 1775 when the British came by sea, famously heralded throughout the colonies by Paul Revere. When the first edition of Common Sense was published in January 1776, the Seige of Boston was still ongoing. Many people were outraged by British actions but wanted a reconciliation while many other colonists were deeply religious and believed wholeheartedly in the divinity of the monarchy. Thomas Paine wrote this pamphlet (a rather large pamphlet) to address every single argument against declaring independence, from the absurdity of heredity succession to the unvarnished truth of the current state of affairs in the colonies. He outlined how presidential and congressional elections might work. He described the advantages of their location, natural resources, and acquired resources. He wrapped up with a condemnation on the morals, intelligence, and manhood of anyone who thought independence was a bad idea. It’s brilliantly written, even if you don’t agree with the content. Complex concepts are thrown out and then explained with metaphors and stories so that the colonists could understand. Much of it is written via the style of a Southern Baptist fire-and-brimstone Sunday church sermon. Before long, everyone who was anyone, and everyone who was no one, were reading this piece, and not just in the colonies. It became a bit of an international success, too. And it was exactly what was needed at exactly the right time. Common Sense sent the colonists into a frenzy and was the primary cause of the overwhelming support for a Declaration of Independence that would be written and signed just a few months later. As an American, I can say that some days even I am unsure whether this “American experiment” has been successful on the whole (some decades have been better than others, right?), but hopefully we are still a work in progress. We have Thomas Paine to thank for giving us a shot.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kimber

    Still rings true..... "This is our situation, and who will know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue;by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils-a ravaged country-a depopulated city-habitations without safety, and slavery without hope." R.I.P to one of our great Americans, Thomas Paine. Still rings true..... "This is our situation, and who will know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue;by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils-a ravaged country-a depopulated city-habitations without safety, and slavery without hope." R.I.P to one of our great Americans, Thomas Paine.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Something everyone should read, study and learn to understand. This pamphlet made a new world. We need such men to stand and inspire us to do the same once again.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jan Priddy

    This is the booklet that pushed us to become a free country. "In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history." I read it in Honors Sophomore World History almost forty years ago, but no one seems to teach it anymore. Except I do. [Or I did until I retired from teaching.] "When Abraham Lincoln was 26 years old in 1835, he wrote a defense of Paine's deism; a political associate, Samuel Hi This is the booklet that pushed us to become a free country. "In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history." I read it in Honors Sophomore World History almost forty years ago, but no one seems to teach it anymore. Except I do. [Or I did until I retired from teaching.] "When Abraham Lincoln was 26 years old in 1835, he wrote a defense of Paine's deism; a political associate, Samuel Hill, burned it to save Lincoln's political career. Historian Roy Basler, the editor of Lincoln's papers, said Paine had a strong influence on Lincoln's style: "No other writer of the eighteenth century, with the exception of Jefferson, parallels more closely the temper or gist of Lincoln's later thought. In style, Paine above all others affords the variety of eloquence which, chastened and adapted to Lincoln's own mood, is revealed in Lincoln's formal writings." It is a powerful work of persuasion and propaganda. Paine argues hard (anonymously), panders to his mostly-Protestant audience, and ultimately convinces a group of colonies to think of themselves as a nation, an independent republic, a people entitled to freedom from inherited monarchy by their natural right to liberty. It is an astounding counterargument to everything Europe stood for at that time, setting reason against the divine right of kings. It is a challenge today to understand how revolutionary this was in his day—this notion that no one should be born to privilege. addendum It should also be noted that just before an American brought him to the so-called "new world" Paine was in prison for promoting the rights of Jews as people in a nation led by a monarch who was (and is) the head of the official Church. Both the free-thinker Thomas Jefferson and the Baptists of the South opposed establishment of an official religion because they wanted to protect their specific belief system against government interference and the imposition of an official religion. The language may be awkward to read today, but this is still essential reading for anyone interested in the principles upon which our nation was founded..

  14. 5 out of 5

    Yara (The Narratologist)

    I’ve been reading “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine So men say that I’m intense or I’m insane You want a revolution? I want a revelation! So listen to my declaration: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal,” And when I meet Thomas Jefferson Imma compel him to include women in the sequel! Work! Yes, I did pick up this pamphlet because I am obsessed with the musical Hamilton (what can I say, I can relate to men thinking that you're intense and/or insane), and I am so I’ve been reading “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine So men say that I’m intense or I’m insane You want a revolution? I want a revelation! So listen to my declaration: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal,” And when I meet Thomas Jefferson Imma compel him to include women in the sequel! Work! Yes, I did pick up this pamphlet because I am obsessed with the musical Hamilton (what can I say, I can relate to men thinking that you're intense and/or insane), and I am so glad that I did. Common Sense is a remarkable read that holds up incredibly well, and worth reading for anyone interested in history or political philosophy. Who’d have thought that an eighteenth-century political essay would make me laugh out loud multiple times? Read More

  15. 4 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    Having never read this oft-mentioned founding document, I dove in. It took awhile to acclimatize, to the language, to gather facts and fictions about the era and population Thomas Paine addresses in his famous work, but I got the gist of it. I found inspiration and wisdom in it. I recognized so many phrases and sentiments that rang true, although I am not of his time. It is clear I have been carefully taught these things my entire life. That stuns me, a little, waving in my free brain thoughts ta Having never read this oft-mentioned founding document, I dove in. It took awhile to acclimatize, to the language, to gather facts and fictions about the era and population Thomas Paine addresses in his famous work, but I got the gist of it. I found inspiration and wisdom in it. I recognized so many phrases and sentiments that rang true, although I am not of his time. It is clear I have been carefully taught these things my entire life. That stuns me, a little, waving in my free brain thoughts tagged by nervous flags that of these I should take note, should consider, should ponder on that . . . . Truth or taught. . . ? It resonates within me as truthful and real, so I'm going with that. Thanks for that mighty act of persuasion, Mr. Paine.

  16. 4 out of 5

    kezzie ☾ (taylor’s version)

    (read for school) “i’ve been reading common sense by thomas paine, some men say i am intense or i am insane.”

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, is, that nature disapproves it, otherwise, she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ass for a lion. Unfortunate that the knee-jerk Right has appropriated this polished wit. I can't see how is reconciles with the specks of froth about emails and birth certificates. Baggage eschewed, this remains a powerful pamphlet, a catalyst for defiance. Not as convincing as J.S. Mill, but one rife with One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, is, that nature disapproves it, otherwise, she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ass for a lion. Unfortunate that the knee-jerk Right has appropriated this polished wit. I can't see how is reconciles with the specks of froth about emails and birth certificates. Baggage eschewed, this remains a powerful pamphlet, a catalyst for defiance. Not as convincing as J.S. Mill, but one rife with images and optimism.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David

    Like most Americans, I've read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, but maybe not all of it recently, and not much of the actual writings of the founding fathers. So this Audible daily deal seemed like a good thing to add to my commute. Thomas Paine's famous polemic is a quick and easy listen, because that's how he intended it to be - indeed, it was read throughout the colonies, in inns and taverns and meeting houses, to a population that was well-educated fo Like most Americans, I've read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, but maybe not all of it recently, and not much of the actual writings of the founding fathers. So this Audible daily deal seemed like a good thing to add to my commute. Thomas Paine's famous polemic is a quick and easy listen, because that's how he intended it to be - indeed, it was read throughout the colonies, in inns and taverns and meeting houses, to a population that was well-educated for the time but still not that literate by modern standards. It was a bestselling pamphlet, and it's credited with getting the majority of the American colonists "off the fence" on the subject of separating from Britain. Until Paine's pamphlet, most Americans were ambivalent about declaring independence, and even those with grievances against Britain thought that reconciliation was better than separation. Paine's argument is basically a long sermon against monarchy and absolute rule, and a recounting of all the grievances the American colonists had against England, and why it was ridiculous for a continent to continue to be governed by an island, and how Americans would benefit by making their own way in the world. It is very much a sermon, and reading some historical background on Common Sense makes it more understandable. Paine deliberately used the language and cadence of a sermon, complete with ample Biblical references, making the (somewhat dubious, in my opinion) argument that the Bible itself does not endorse monarchies. (Paine claims that even King David was only honored as a man, and not a king, but I think he's being a bit selective in his choice of Bible verses there.) It's important to understand that at the time, educated men writing treatises like this usually used formal rhetorical style, with lots of Latin and Greek phrases, so they'd sound smart and go right over the heads of commoners. Paine deliberately aimed at the common man (and as his language makes clear, he was only talking to men here), wanting his arguments to be accessible to everyone, not just the elites who stood to benefit most from revolution. At the time, this was truly revolutionary and inflammatory, and even some of the founding fathers didn't approve. Yet Common Sense is credited with swaying public opinion in favor of declaring independence. Paine launches a tirade against Britain and King George, delivering quite a one-sided but effective case for divorce. The pamphlet ends with an epilogue which is a rebuttal to Quaker arguments in favor of peace (i.e., non-revolution), in which Paine basically says, "Stick to your religion and keep your noses out of politics." Having this read to me made it more enjoyable, as I could imagine Thomas Paine delivering his oratory in person, or some rabble rouser reading it aloud in an alehouse in Philadelphia. An appropriate July 4th listen.

  19. 4 out of 5

    M.C.

    Known to some as a precursor to the Declaration of Independence, Common Sense by Thomas Paine may actually serve as evidence of the blinding effects of fervent patriotism. Paine masterly grasped the attention of the reader by questioning about the origin of government to stir the desire to question about the evolution of government over time--how government has, over the course of centuries, became what it is. The choice to begin the text with regards to the origin and progress from hence is als Known to some as a precursor to the Declaration of Independence, Common Sense by Thomas Paine may actually serve as evidence of the blinding effects of fervent patriotism. Paine masterly grasped the attention of the reader by questioning about the origin of government to stir the desire to question about the evolution of government over time--how government has, over the course of centuries, became what it is. The choice to begin the text with regards to the origin and progress from hence is also effective because it creates a chronological effect. Not to mention, it is wise of Paine to apply to his work the ideas of Enlightenment philosophers such as those of John Locke. However, Common Sense falls short in the discussion of the facts. Paine downplays the negatives of sovereignty, such as the consequences of becoming in debt and the political and economic issues an independent nation faces on a national scale. Such behavior indicates a fanatic obsession with nationalism and the desire to secure it through secession or other radical means. Though it may seem comical for a mere reader to remark upon the grave subjects of politics and the like, I must protest that the hype for revolution and Paine's vision on the readiness of his America is to an extent dangerous and naive.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    I read this essay in school many years ago; I have read several books recently that have referred the Pane’s “Common Sense”. So, I thought I would re-read and refresh my memory about the book. “Common Sense” was published in 1776 and challenged the authority of the British government and monarchy. It was written in plain language for the common person to easily read. It was the first published works to openly ask for independence from Great Britain. Pane says that government’s sole purpose is to I read this essay in school many years ago; I have read several books recently that have referred the Pane’s “Common Sense”. So, I thought I would re-read and refresh my memory about the book. “Common Sense” was published in 1776 and challenged the authority of the British government and monarchy. It was written in plain language for the common person to easily read. It was the first published works to openly ask for independence from Great Britain. Pane says that government’s sole purpose is to protect life, liberty and property and should be judged on the extent it accomplished this goal. Pane states that all men are born equal and tyranny cannot be tolerated. This is a book that everyone should read and then re-read periodically. Edward Miller does a good job narrating the book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Canon

    “Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home pursues their descendants still.” Not unaware that this pamphlet has often been invoked by pundits of the American Right “Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home pursues their descendants still.” Not unaware that this pamphlet has often been invoked by pundits of the American Right (who valorize themselves as the only common sense patriots) in their anti-government and white nationalist demagoguery, I recalled while rereading it this July 4th Thomas Pynchon’s description of the decline of the Slothrop family from partisans of living freedom to dead oppression, and seemed to see in it a parable of the Republican Party: “in those days [they were] not yet so much involved with paper, and the wholesale slaughtering of trees. They were still for the living green, against the dead white. Later they lost, or traded away, knowledge of which side they'd been on,” (Gravity's Rainbow 272). Insofar as conservative freedom is the liberty to exercise exclusive power over others according to an authoritarian ideology (“Don’t Tread On Me; I Shall Tread On You”), Paine does not belong in their pantheon.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lily - Books by Starlight

    Brilliant and eloquent.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vaishali

    Published Valentine's Day, 1776 ! The one essay in Revolutionary America plumbing subjects as vast as Jewish history, moral laziness, and naval ship data. Theorizes that monarchies were born when ancient man wooed the group bully with gifts. Lucid, sarcastic... and a national treasure. Phenomenal quotes: --------------- “Time makes more converts than reason.” “Were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other law-giver.” “Nothing but heaven is impregnab Published Valentine's Day, 1776 ! The one essay in Revolutionary America plumbing subjects as vast as Jewish history, moral laziness, and naval ship data. Theorizes that monarchies were born when ancient man wooed the group bully with gifts. Lucid, sarcastic... and a national treasure. Phenomenal quotes: --------------- “Time makes more converts than reason.” “Were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other law-giver.” “Nothing but heaven is impregnable to vice.” “The more simple anything is, the less liable it is to be disordered, and the easier repaired when disordered; and with this maxim in view, I offer a few remarks on the so much boasted constitution of England.” “Oppression is often the consequence, but seldom or never the means of riches.” “How a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth enquiring into.” “A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped into the bargain!” “America would have flourished … had no European power had any thing to do with her. The commerce by which she hath enriched herself are the necessaries of life, and will always have a market while eating is the custom of Europe.” “It is the interest of all Europe to have America a free port. Her trade will always be a protection, and her barrenness of gold and silver secure her from invaders.” “Hath your house been burnt? Hath you property been destroyed before your face? Are your wife and children destitute of a bed to lie on, or bread to live on? If you have not, then are you not a judge of those who have.” “There is something very absurd in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island.” “A government which cannot preserve the peace is no government at all.” “There are thousands and tens of thousands who would think it glorious to expel from the continent that barbarous and hellish power which hath stirred up the Indians and Negroes to destroy us.” “… The timber of the country is every day diminishing…” “Suspicion is the companion of mean souls, and the bane of all good society.” “Truths discovered by necessity will appear clearer and stronger every day.” “He who takes nature for his guide is not easily beaten out of his argument.” “What we obtain too cheap we esteem too lightly.” “I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. It is the business of little minds to shrink.” .

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Yes, this is a piece of history and should be read by everyone interested in politics. It asks the question; "should we seek Reconciliation with England or Independence from her." Thomas Paine said it was only common sense to break with the King. It was common sense to establish a representative government and not serve a King. It was common sense to limit the terms politicians can serve, because it is best not to allow a person to get established as a career politician, as he would then serve h Yes, this is a piece of history and should be read by everyone interested in politics. It asks the question; "should we seek Reconciliation with England or Independence from her." Thomas Paine said it was only common sense to break with the King. It was common sense to establish a representative government and not serve a King. It was common sense to limit the terms politicians can serve, because it is best not to allow a person to get established as a career politician, as he would then serve himself and not the people. It was common sense not to let the nation go into to debt, as it is unfair to create debt succeeding generations would have to pay. It would be common sense if today politicians would be required to know and adhere to these common sense values. It would be common sense if there were another method by which persons can be elected rather than how much money they are capable of raising. It would be common sense if members of congress served longer terms, like Senators, so that the business of campaigning and funding election cycles were further removed from the previous cycle. It would be common sense to allow representatives to cast their votes from home on an official, secure email account, permitting those people to reduce travel expenses. It would be common sense to expect politicians to really represent the people. It would be costly to expect everyone to have the same understanding of the words common sense....Michael

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    “Revolution is our inherent character, and courage has never yet forsaken us.” This reads like the tract it is, and while I enjoyed the introduction more than the work itself, it is important and in places, inspiring. People needed to be brought around to see the efficacy, the inevitability of American independence. Because revolution is scary. He made some laudable points, important to continue to reflect upon. “Of more worth is one honest man to society, and in the sight of God, than all the crow “Revolution is our inherent character, and courage has never yet forsaken us.” This reads like the tract it is, and while I enjoyed the introduction more than the work itself, it is important and in places, inspiring. People needed to be brought around to see the efficacy, the inevitability of American independence. Because revolution is scary. He made some laudable points, important to continue to reflect upon. “Of more worth is one honest man to society, and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.” “As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government has to do therewith.” It did strike me, as I read Paine’s complaint of how far removed the monarch is from the people, that we have a similar problem today. If we believe all people to be created equal and believe that they should be equally represented, then the 99%, as we call them of late, are sadly underrepresented. Paine’s comments about how the king, by virtue of being king, is removed from what most people experience rings very true as it applies to our 1%, and it makes me think our revolution isn’t finished yet. “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”

  26. 5 out of 5

    Casaubon

    I was rereading this for reference and I noticed something interesting when going through Goodreads. This pamphlet from 1776, published just months before the American War for Independence apparently has some cache for readers outside of the United States and other non-English language books show up on the recommended reading function here. I suspect this popularity for specific audiences is not for Paine's discussion of the use of old-growth forests to build up an oceanic navy for the United St I was rereading this for reference and I noticed something interesting when going through Goodreads. This pamphlet from 1776, published just months before the American War for Independence apparently has some cache for readers outside of the United States and other non-English language books show up on the recommended reading function here. I suspect this popularity for specific audiences is not for Paine's discussion of the use of old-growth forests to build up an oceanic navy for the United States to challenge Britain, but for his contempt for institutions of tyranny as he saw them.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Clay Davis

    One of the brilliant writers of his age.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Corinne Edwards

    I'm a little bit of a fan of the musical Hamilton. In one song, the future sister-in-law of Alexander Hamilton sings, "I've been reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine, so men say that I'm intense or I'm insane." That particular line gets stuck in my head a lot and I finally thought - I should read the dang thing myself!! Common Sense is a "pamphlet" that Thomas Paine wrote in an attempt to justify and defend the cause of independence from England. His thoughtful, logical arguments approach the pro I'm a little bit of a fan of the musical Hamilton. In one song, the future sister-in-law of Alexander Hamilton sings, "I've been reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine, so men say that I'm intense or I'm insane." That particular line gets stuck in my head a lot and I finally thought - I should read the dang thing myself!! Common Sense is a "pamphlet" that Thomas Paine wrote in an attempt to justify and defend the cause of independence from England. His thoughtful, logical arguments approach the problem from all angles, some I had never even considered. He's not gentle, that Thomas Paine. In his mind, if you don't see the benefits of an immediate severing of ties with England, then you are a idiot. He begins at governments, their purpose and responsibilities. He deconstructs and destroys the entire idea of a king. He is very aware of the amazing chance they had, in that moment, to create a new world. He even says, "We have it in our power to begin the world over again." This book actually fascinated me. It is so well laid out, so logical, it does make so much SENSE. I didn't read a page without highlighting something that really resonated with me as a person privileged with a life a freedom. He'd have convinced me to commit treason, I think. I feel like I have a much better sense now of all that was at stake in the TIMING of the thing. Part of his argument for immediate independence was the fact that their current generation of adults had just FOUGHT in a war, they knew HOW to fight - Paine's argument against those who wanted independence but "not right now" is that if they waited one generation, that institutional military knowledge would be lost. I had never thought of that before. I felt like singing the National Anthem when I was done reading. Or maybe some Hamilton ;)

  29. 4 out of 5

    The Duke

    I guess the Olympics made me feel a little patriotic, so I opened my American Flag bookshelf and pulled this out from its nest between the Federalist Papers and the complete collection of Abraham Lincoln Speeches. For one, my most unpatriotic reason for reading this book: I am behind on my reading goal for the year and this was an incredibly short book. Seriously, it's barely 100 pages and you can still brag to professors about reading it. Anyway, why it's important. Well, it was written during I guess the Olympics made me feel a little patriotic, so I opened my American Flag bookshelf and pulled this out from its nest between the Federalist Papers and the complete collection of Abraham Lincoln Speeches. For one, my most unpatriotic reason for reading this book: I am behind on my reading goal for the year and this was an incredibly short book. Seriously, it's barely 100 pages and you can still brag to professors about reading it. Anyway, why it's important. Well, it was written during a time that America was unable to have its own identity. Americans were forbidden from trading with enemies to the crown, which limited their trading potential and hindered their growth. At the time, despite occupying little of the continent, their resources were in demand across the entire globe, yet the British subjected them to high taxes and gave them no voice in parliament. Thomas Paine argued that American Independence was just common sense. A country like America needed its independence and needed a representative government (that wasn't an ocean away) to reach its full potential.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    At the risk of being labeled a communist (or worse), I did not like this at all. If this was the prevailing thought that our country was based on, it explains a lot. Where I agree on the idiocy of the birthright/divine right of sovereigns, it's equally absurd to read about the equality of man and the importance of freedom of religion when that equality apparently only applied to white men and the only for differing denominations of christianity. Not much different than the GOP platform/manifesto At the risk of being labeled a communist (or worse), I did not like this at all. If this was the prevailing thought that our country was based on, it explains a lot. Where I agree on the idiocy of the birthright/divine right of sovereigns, it's equally absurd to read about the equality of man and the importance of freedom of religion when that equality apparently only applied to white men and the only for differing denominations of christianity. Not much different than the GOP platform/manifesto of today: lots of talk about rights and freedoms, but check the fine print; it's not an offer extended to all. I do agree that this is an important document, and should be read, if for no other reason, to show plainly the hypocrisy of the notions of the founding fathers' idea of the word freedom.

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