Common Sense

Common Sense


Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140390162
  • 128 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • 18 and up


Published anonymously in 1776, the year of the American Declaration of Independence, Paine’s Common Sense became an immediate best-seller, with fifty-six editions printed in that year alone. It was this pamphlet, more than any other factor, which helped to spark off the movement that established the independence of the United States. From his experience of revolutionary politics, Paine drew those principles of fundamental human rights which, he felt, must stand no matter what excesses are committed to obtain them, and which he later formulated in his Rights of Man.
Common Sense

Common Sense

Thomas Paine, Editor: Isaac Kramnick


“No writer has exceeded Paine in ease and familiarity of style; in perspicuity of expression, happiness of elucidation, and in simple unassuming language.” —Thomas Jefferson

Table of Contents

Common Sense Editor’s Introduction
Background to the American Revolution, 1776
From staymaker to revolutionary: The life and career of Tom Paine
The argument of Common Sense
Bourgeois radicalism – the ideology of Tom Paine
Paine and the American bicentennial
Notes to Editor’s Introduction
A Note on the Text
Suggestions for Further Reading
Common Sense
Of the Origin and Design of Government in General
Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession
Thoughts on the present State of American Affairs
Of the present Ability of America, with some misellaneous Reflexions
To the Representatives of the Religious Society of the People called Quakers