Common Sense

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Jun 6, 2017 - History - 112 pages

A special gift edition of one of the most important and influential documents in our nation’s history—featured in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning Hamilton: An American Musical—stylishly packaged for twenty-first-century readers.

According to John Adams, "Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain." With Common Sense, Thomas Paine energized colonial support for the armed rebellion that would make the American experiment a reality, using common sense to argue for colonial independence. Today, this cornerstone of the American Revolution has once again been rediscovered by ardent fans of the wildly popular and transformative Broadway musical Hamilton, which features Common Sense prominently in one of its opening numbers.

Originally published 240 years ago, Paine’s groundbreaking pamphlet remains relevant for every American today. Written for the restless populous of 1776, Common Sense questioned the authority of King George III and was the first work to openly champion the American colonies’ independence from Great Britain.

Containing the original text and spelling along with a brief description of Paine, this special gift edition is stylishly packaged with a striking cloth-like case that mimics an embroidered sampler, with raised embossing to make the stitching feel authentic. The cover design combines colonial patterns with a contemporary color palette to appeal to both serious history readers as well as fans of pop culture. The back cover includes praise from key historical figures of the Revolution (who also happen to be characters in the musical).

Outlining the revolutionary roots of our nation’s founding, Common Sense is essential reading for Americans of all stripes who, like their forefathers, find themselves in times that try their souls, and are now discovering their own rebellious spirit.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Renzomalo - LibraryThing

Like all dated material, a little bit of a challenge to get through, but well worth the effort. In this brief little book, Paine lays out the underlying rationale of the country's founding and impetus for the revolution. Long story short: the King is not law: the Law is king. Nuff said. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jonfaith - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

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About the author (2017)

Born to parents with Quaker leanings, Thomas Paine grew up amid modest circumstances in the rural environs of Thetford, England. As the recipient of what he termed "a good moral education and a tolerable stock of useful learning," little in Paine's early years seemed to suggest that he would one day rise to a stunning defense of American independence in such passionate and compelling works as Common Sense (1776) and The American Crisis essays (1776-83). Paine's early years were characterized by a constant struggle to remain financially solvent while pursuing a number of nonintellectual activities. Nevertheless, the young Paine read such Enlightenment theorists as Isaac Newton and John Locke and remained dedicated to the idea that education was a lifelong commitment. From 1753 to 1759, Paine worked alternately as a sailor, a staymaker, and a customs officer. Between 1759 and 1772, he married twice. His first wife died within a year of their marriage, and Paine separated amicably from his second wife after a shop they operated together went bankrupt. While these circumstances seemed gloomy, Paine fortuitously made the acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin in London in 1773. Impressed by Paine's self-education, Franklin encouraged the young man to venture to America where he might prosper. Arriving in Philadelphia in 1774, Paine quickly found himself energized by the volatile nature of Revolutionary politics. Working as an editor of Pennsylvania Magazine, Paine found a forum for his passionate radical views. In the years that followed, Paine became increasingly committed to American independence, and to his conviction that the elitist and corrupt government that had ruled over him in England had little business extending its corrosive colonial power to the States. Moved by these beliefs, Paine published Common Sense (1776), a test that proved invaluable in unifying American sentiment against British rule. Later, after joining the fray as a soldier, Paine penned the familiar lines in "The American Crisis": "These are the times that try men's souls." Fifteen years later, Paine wrote his other famous work, Rights of Man (1791). Drawing on his eclectic experiences as a laborer, an international radical politician, and a revolutionary soldier, Paine asserted his Lockeian belief that since God created humans in "one degree only," then rights should be equal for every individual.

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