Common Sense and the American Crisis
The writings that inspired the American Revolution—in an expanded new edition
Thomas Paine’s Common Sense may well be the most influential polemic in all of American history. Published anonymously in 1776, six months before the Declaration of Independence, this incendiary call for Americans to revolt against British rule converted millions to the cause of independence and set out a vision of a just society liberated from the yoke of the crown. Paine’s pamphlet was the first to speak directly to a mass audience—and his assertive and often caustic style embodied the democratic spirit he advocated.
This expanded edition also features Paine’s The American Crisis I, the first in a series of pamphlets aimed at bolstering American morale during the Revolution. An introduction by preeminent constitutional expert Richard Beeman traces Paine’s origins and illuminates the significance of these writings.
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