Summary of Common Sense

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Common Sense book summary


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In Philadelphia in early 1776, Thomas Paine (1737-1809) anonymously published a booklet called Common Sense. His impassioned plea for American independence and his anti-government tirade directed at King George III sold 100,000 copies within three months. Eventually, a half-million copies circulated in an America with only two million literate citizens. Paine’s clear, concise writing, intended for the masses, sacrifices no rhetorical grandeur. As contemporary Americans look back to their Founding Fathers for inspiration, Paine’s reasoned, ardent words carry even greater meaning. getAbstract highly recommends this building block of the United States of America to all modern students of history.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What US pamphleteer Thomas Paine wrote in 1776 that galvanized the American Revolution, including his explanations of:
  • How government evolves naturally from human gatherings (societies),
  • Why English rule over the American colonies was corrupt and wrong,
  • Why America had to declare full independence from British rule, and
  • How a government based on equal representation and law could create a new nation.

About the Author

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) published Common Sense anonymously in 1776. He also wrote The American Crisis, The Rights of Man and The Age of Reason.



On Natural Government
America’s desire to throw off oppressive English governance calls to everyone who loves freedom. The author remains anonymous, because he writes not of a person but of a universal mission, “the influence of reason and principle.”

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