In its time over 600,000 copies of Common Sense were circulated through the Colonies. Not one to be "politically correct" Thomas Paine's little book was key to starting a revolution we know today as the United States of America. Quotes from within these pages: "A long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT" "The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind." "A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived." "The present winter is worth an age if rightly employed, but if lost or neglected, the whole continent will partake of the misfortune." "The present time, likewise, is that peculiar time, which never happens to a nation but once . . . the time of forming itself into a government. Most nations have let slip the opportunity, and by that means have been compelled to receive laws from their conquerors."
"These are the times that try men's souls," begins Thomas Paine's first Crisis paper, the impassioned pamphlet that helped ignite the American Revolution. Published in Philadelphia in January of 1776, Common Sense sold 150,000 copies almost immediately. A powerful piece of propaganda, it attacked the idea of a hereditary monarchy, dismissed the chance for reconciliation with England, and outlined the economic benefits of independence while espousing equality of rights among citizens. Paine fanned a flame that was already burning, but many historians argue that his work unified dissenting voices and persuaded patriots that the American Revolution was not only necessary, but an epochal step in world history.