Common Sense
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Common Sense

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  13,927 ratings  ·  674 reviews
Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves—and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives—and destroyed them.

Published anonymously in 1776, six months before the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine’s Com...more
Paperback, 56 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Dodo Press (first published 1776)
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Some would disregard this work as significant only as a "period piece." No. This is a work of near-perfection in political argument: every section is mature, thoroughly considered, and argued forcefully. I found myself at the end wondering if there could be any question or disagreement with Paine.

But at the foundation of this work is a profound Rousseauvian political philosophy. Everything is considered; Paine starts from the beginning of human history and takes us to the present day, leaving n...more
Stephen
4.5 stars. Scathing, derogatory rhetoric directed at the King of England in particular and the British in general designed to arouse the "passions" of the American colonists to embrace the idea of independence from Britian. From that standpoint, very few books in history have been as successful in achieving its goal. Almost 250 years later, this short book (better described as a long essay), still has the power to move you and make you feel the passion of the writer for his subject matter. A tru...more
Daniel
Something everyone should read, study and learn to understand. This pamphlet made a new world. We need such men to stand and inspire us to do the same once again.
M.C.
Known to some as a precursor to the Declaration of Independence, Common Sense by Thomas Paine may actually serve as evidence of the blinding effects of fervent patriotism.

Paine masterly grasped the attention of the reader by questioning about the origin of government to stir the desire to question about the evolution of government over time--how government has, over the course of centuries, became what it is. The choice to begin the text with regards to the origin and progress from hence is als...more
Michael
Sep 09, 2013 Michael rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: politicians and journalists
Recommended to Michael by: my own ignorance
Yes, this is a piece of history and should be read by everyone interested in politics. It asks the question; "should we seek Reconciliation with England or Independence from her." Thomas Paine said it was only common sense to break with the King. It was common sense to establish a representative government and not serve a King. It was common sense to limit the terms politicians can serve, because it is best not to allow a person to get established as a career politician, as he would then serve h...more
Laura
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I had supposed from the title, that Mr. Paine would endeavor to convince all of his readers that his opinion was right by an appeal to natural law, or 'common' sense. In reality, he defended his conclusions quite often from Scripture (as may be seen below), and did not rely on man's reasoning or conclusions alone to support his case. An excellent, short read.



"Time makes more converts than reason."

"When a man seriously reflects on the idolatrous homage w...more
Luis
Common Sense is a strongly worded call for independence of the American Colonies. Paine demonstrates through logical reasoning and factual evidence that America can and must govern itself. The King of England, he maintains is nothing less than a tyrant interested only in the resources and riches of the land. Paine demands equality but asserts that it can never come from England and, therefore, disassociation and independence are the only alternatives. He criticizes the tradition of the monarchy...more
Rawan_n
كتاب مبسط وصغير بأفكار كبيرة ومستحقة!.
نشر في سنة ١٧٧٦ قبل عامين من إعلان استقلال الولايات المتحدة وقد لاقى الشهرة والقبول على مدى هذه القرون، وجه حديثه لسكان المستعمرات البريطانية وحاجتهم للإستقلال عنها، كما هاجم فكرة الملكية الوراثية، وشرح في الفصل الأخير الحالة الأمريكية آنذاك.

* رابط تحميل الكتاب بترجمة محمد الجندي ومراجعة حسام محمود
http://www.hindawi.org/kalimat/books/...
Angela Blount

"Time makes more converts than reason." – Thomas Paine

And with that early quote, this reader steadily became enthralled with a founding father. I sincerely wish this novella-sized essay had been required reading while I was still in high school—or at any point in my education, for that matter.

(Okay, if I'm being honest, my teenage self wanted history explained something like this...)



But seriously... the read I thought was going to be a necessary slog turned out to be not only insightful, but ge...more
Lauren
Thomas Paine’s book, Common Sense, sparked revolutionary thoughts and supported revolutionary ideas for the colonists in America in the late 1700s. Paine’s idea was to get the masses of people to revolt against British rule and he outlined reasons why this would be the best course to take. Common Sense really helped to promote revolutionary thoughts and was a great influence to many of the colonial people because he wrote it in a language that everyone could understand and relate to. He focused...more
Michael Makovi
Awesome criticism of monarchy, inspired by Deuteronomy and Judges. His advocacy of a limited government is admirable. His view that government is required only to compensate for lackings and desiderata in the public/mass's social conscience and moral virtue, ties in well with John Locke (who was inspired by the Biblical refrain of caring for the "widows and orphans") and Ralph Waldo Emerson (who proposes an indirect proportion between government activity and the mass's social activity).
Nicholas Seders
Three Reasons to Read

1) Relevant Ideas - While "Common Sense" is a political pamphlet of bygone days, it is neither overly didactic or unbearably boring. It is a fascinating philosophical exploration of civil liberty, independence, and national identity. Furthermore, most of the ideas that Paine presented can be easily extrapolated and applied to the world as we know it.

2) Literary Excellence - "Common Sense" does not at all read like a lecture in Political Science. Paine's creativity is put on...more
Garth
There were at least two reasons why Paine's brief pamphlet is believed to be "the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era". First, while the average colonist was more educated than their European counterpart, European and colonial elites agreed that common people had no place in government or political debates. By aiming for a popular audience, and writing in a straightforward and simple way, Paine made political ideas tangible for a common audience. This brought ave...more
Bubba
One of the most influential little pamphlets in U.S. and, for that matter, world history. Published in January 1776, it likely had an important effect on the delegates to the Second Continental Congress as they debated whether they should declare their united colonies independent of the British Empire. It's author, Thomas Paine, was a rabidly anti-monarchical Englishman who played an important role in both the American and French (1789) Revolutions. Only recently arrived in the colonies, this fa...more
Shawn
He made some very strong points. Some quotes that appealed to me:

"Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices."

"... government even in its best state is but a necessary evil in its worst state an intolerable one..."

"For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case,...more
Texbritreader
This book should be required reading for every American before they are allowed to graduate from high school, it is that important and relevant. The name says it all; Common Sense, is just what the title states, a remarkably lucid, logical, and plainly written political tract that would help fuel the American Revolution.

In brief and clearly reasoned sections, Paine addresses the origins of government, the flaws of hereditary rulers, the state of the colonies under British rule and his belief in...more
Ben
This widely circulated and highly popular work was published anonymously, and despite its successful sales Paine didn't profit from the work's success. For Paine, the cause of freedom was the reward itself. When compared to other writings of the time, like the Federalist Papers (which would come some years later), the work is lucid and very accessible even more than two centuries after its initial publication. While some argue that the work is outdated and others suggest that Paine's language wa...more
Jay
The best common sense is utilized in retrospect by primary historical sources which, when written by first hand observations, are beyond the realm of value for deduction, analysis and critical thinking. Thomas Paine, a curious case in temporary American patriotism since he would eventually return to England, was strong in his written convictions supporting the colonies and their break from England to become an independent government. In his 1776 Common Sense, Paine begins by breaking down his vi...more
bup
My 9th-grade social studies teacher told us Common Sense was an emotional appeal, not rational. I always wondered, and now that I've read it, I agree with her.

It's not all one or the other, of course. Any lengthy piece will have some logic and some emotion. And this one has a little flawed logic as well.

The points I got were, along with my judgments, were -

1) Kings are bad. The bible says so. Emo.
2) Kings exist because of usurpation. No republic would ever evolve to monarchy. Bad logic - ignora...more
Rick
As a historical document it is fascinating, and its influence at the time should not be underestimated, But reading it now is sorta weird and scary. First off, though the first few pages are this great philosophical piece on why we need government, but only as little government as possible, later on Paine is advocating building giant navies and selling off large tracts of land, with the money going to the federal government. Plus there's this whole biblical explanation for why kings are bad, whi...more
Christopher
It is one of the most effective pieces of propaganda in the history of the world, and it's quite likely that without it the United States would not have garnered enough popular support to effect independence from England. Because it was so successful despite containing bucketloads of false logic, ridiculous science, and infantile grasps of history, philosophy, and religion, does that make it even more wondrous in its worth? Does that deserve 1 star or 5 stars? I don't know so I can't even give t...more
Ruth
I've always meant to read this because of its significance for the American Revolution, and I'm so glad I did. The title is pretty self-explanatory, and I love how Thomas Paine lays out his arguments in such a simple, straight-forward manner. I'm convinced! To war!! Seriously though, he makes a very compelling case for why America needed to break away from England, and I can see why it was so influential at the time.

The other thing I really enjoyed about Common Sense was that at one point, Paine...more
Leahxx
I'm very sure that I would have liked this a lot more if I had been alive and able to read in 1776 in the heat of a revolution, instead of reading it in 2014 as a summer assignment that I'm required to do for school.
I have so much respect for the founding fathers and everyone alive during that time, but that doesn't mean that I enjoy reading about it. I respect what they did and am very grateful, but summer work sucks and I am not extraordinarily interested in politics.
Mark
If I had heroes, Thomas Paine would be one. In a time when voicing your viewpoints,especially those that went against the norm, could mean your life, Thomas Paine was at his loudest.
Common Sense is Paine's attack on Christianity and the belief that the United States is a Christian nation.

Although often lacking a neutral voice, Paine attacks biblical concepts and propositions with a voracity that is seldom found today with the exception of tele-evangelists berating the public for money in "God's...more
Onyango Makagutu
Here Paine critics the British monarchy, writes in defense of American independence and establishes a republic, a government established by the governed and also tells us the purpose of government, that is to for protection and freedom.
HaameD
An extraordinary piece of work by Paine he truly applies his common sense and provides simple explanations for what was facing the country at the time;dealing also with a lot of opposition view his reasoning is quiet interestingly strong yet it was simple enough for the public mind to grasp. US revolution is one of those who ended up with at lease the right result unlike Iran's 1979 however its' fascinating to see all founding father of america criticized religion in between their lines while ke...more
Tommy
I was thoroughly underwhelmed by this book. Thomas Paine has become such an American icon in politics and I definitely respect his spirit and his enthusiasm but I found him to be a misguided and angry blow hard most of the time. I saw in his writing the seeds of arrogance and closed mindedness that have become the trademark of today's bitter partisan politics.

To me, the question of whether he was right or wrong at that point is nearly inconsequential. I would only suggest this book as a historic...more
Bonn
This is absolutely brilliant. And is indeed so very infectious in its brilliancy that every night after reading a section, the only possible topic of conversation at the dinner table was the past state of affairs between this American continent and the Crown. Also, loyalists were most routinely and joyfully abashed each night. Few things are more satisfying than ranting oh so eloquently about historical England and the suffering colonies. But seriously, King Georgey, how stupid did you think we...more
Stephen
After the battles of Lexington and Concord that scotched any idea of peaceful reconciliation between Britain and its former colonies, but before the Declaration of Independence that stared the colonies on their march toward united nationhood, rabble-rouser Tom Paine penned a now famous pamphlet intended to fire up support for the glorious cause. It's an ambitious little book, containing an argument for independence , a review of America's material ability to take on the greatest power in the wor...more
Josh Meares
Thomas Paine was a commonsense sort of thinker. Some of his arguments are invalid, some of his prose, not so great. But the man was smart, and he thought deeply about the issues of his day. Many of the things that he wrote are still quite appropriate today, although for different reasons.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

"But to expend millions for the sake of getting a few vile acts repealed, and routing the present ministry only, is unworthy the charge, and is using posterity with the utmos...more
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What should every American read? 2 25 Sep 15, 2013 10:53AM  
  • The Federalist Papers
  • The Inner Life
  • Civil Disobedience and Other Essays (Collected Essays)
  • The Constitution of the United States of America
  • The Christians and the Fall of Rome (Great Ideas)
  • On Friendship
  • On Natural Selection
  • The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates
  • The Real Benjamin Franklin (Vol. 2 of the American Classic Series)
  • Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking
  • Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine
  • Two Treatises of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration
  • On Art and Life
  • Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations
  • Democracy in America
  • The Gettysburg Address
  • Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different
  • The Birth of the Republic, 1763-89
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Thomas Paine (February 9, 1737 – June 8, 1809) was an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called "a c...more
More about Thomas Paine...
Common Sense, The Rights of Man and Other Essential Writings of Thomas Paine Common Sense and Other Writings Rights of Man The Age of Reason Paine: Collected Writings: Common Sense/The Crisis/Rights of Man/The Age of Reason/Pamphlets/Articles & Letters (Library of America #76)

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“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.” 160 likes
“Time makes more converts than reason.” 59 likes
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