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How was Thomas Paine's Common Sense received in the colonies?

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magnotta | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted November 21, 2011 at 7:00 AM via web

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How was Thomas Paine's Common Sense received in the colonies?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 21, 2011 at 7:53 AM (Answer #1)

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Thomas Paine's pamphlet was very well received by colonists.  In fact, historians tend to give it credit for helping to tip the colonies towards a desire for independence.

Before Paine wrote Common Sense, there was not a strong sentiment for independence.  The arguments made by the Patriots were mainly legal ones about what sorts of rights Americans had as British subjects.  This was not very stirring or exciting for most colonists.

Paine's writing changed that.  He made a very clear case for the idea that monarchy should be abolished and that the colonies should be free and democratic.  This was a much more exciting idea to many colonists.  Because of this, the pamphlet sold very well among the colonists and George Washington himself went so far as to say "I find Common Sense is working a powerful change in the minds of men."

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