Written prior to the revolutionary war, "Common Sense" was a widely distributed phamphlet that argued for the complete independence of America from Britain. Its importance in terms of American history cannot by understated. The influence that this publication had on the American sentiment towards fighting the revolutionary war may have been more significant than any other single factor. Read for yourself the arguments that were made then for American independence as the American colonies were on the brink of war.
"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.