American History Documents

Thomas Paine. Common Sense. Philadelphia, R. Bell, 1776.

Lilly Library JC178 .B713 vault

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The first demand for complete independence of the American Colonies appeared in Paine's greatly influential and controversial pamphlet. "[This] superbly rhetorical and iconoclastic pamphlet," with its "slashing attacks upon English monarchy and upon the concept of balance in the Constitution," made an immediate sensation (Bailyn: 286).

The work is divided into four parts: the first two are concerned with the origin of government, with respect to the English Constitution and the design of monarchy and hereditary succession; the last two discuss the present state of affairs in America and the necessity for America to claim itself a free and independent nation.


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