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Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Common Sense

by Thomas Paine

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2,792372,091 (3.96)1 / 85



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Thomas Paine is my favorite writer's (the late Christopher Hitchens) favorite writer, and therefore my responsibility to experience. Upon reading, I quickly understood the admiration. Paine, like Hitchens, is an enviously eloquent silver-tongued wordplayer who holds immoral sycophants to account for their cowardice. For shame that this was not part of my curriculum. How could a work like this be buried in general, purportedly as a result of future quasi-antitheistic work? This writing should be judged upon its own merits. History should have been kinder, as it is a masterpiece of reasoning and rationalism and a supreme galvanizer of men. ( )
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |
Firstly, I like his, use of vocabulary, & style of, writing. Secondly, I like his passion, & conviction, even though, I don't think, he's right, all the time. Thirdly, I am amused, & amazed, by, his, overuse, of, the, comma,., ( )
  mvbdlr | Aug 2, 2014 |
A very appropriate book to be reviewing on the Fourth of July! This is the argument that started the American Revolution - the argument that a break from British ties is the only way to make America great. His arguments are both very persuasive (as a 21st century reader, I found myself agreeing with him on all points) and is very enlightening on the politics of the time.

I found it difficult to read at some points - the shift in language required me to read the same passages multiple times to understand it. And sometimes, a sentence only made sense in the context of the larger page. But- the arguments are very clear.

I think all politicians should read this book - as a country, I think America have gone away from the intent of elected officials. Thomas Paine makes it very clear the best government is when each person gets to vote on an issue but when populations are too large second best is vote for a representative.

This is a book of it's time... There are non-politically correct references to "Savages" of Africa and Native Indians. It is very clear that Thomas Paine was writing to an audience who thought Christianity was the most "Civilized" religion. I say this because the introduction indicates that Thomas Paine was Deist and was against slavery. So, was he writing to his audience? or did he actually believe what he wrote. It is an interesting question. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Jul 4, 2013 |
The first parts are the best. Very much a book of the Enlightenment.

Couple of quotes:

"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..." ( )
  dmac7 | Jun 14, 2013 |
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 this a rating; it is a true marvel of history. I've only read the quotes and highlights of this throughout my life so reading it in its entirety has only deepened my insight into the provocative ass that was the man that despised George Washington and Edmund Burke. It's not just me that is repulsed by him, only six people attended the funeral of this hero. His obituary said it well: ""He had lived long, did some good and much harm."
  cjyurkanin | May 22, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Paineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Appleby, JoyceEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beeman, Richard R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cronauer, AdrianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deitschman, CraigNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gabaldon, DianaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herder, RonaldEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kramnick, IsaacEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tietjen, GregoryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wendel, ThomasEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Man knows no Mafbr fave creating HEAVEN,
Or thofe whom choice and common good ordain.

First words
Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages are not sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; 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.
Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins.
Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things.
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Book description
When my country, into which I had just set my foot, was set on fire about my ears, it was time to stir. It was time for every man to stir."
~ Thomas Paine

Published anonymously in 1776, the year of the American Declaration of Independence, Paine's Common Sense became an immediate bestseller, with fifty-six edtiions printed in that year alone. It was this pamplet, more than any other factor, which helped to spark off the movement that established hte independence of hte 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.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140390162, Paperback)

"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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:43 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Enormously popular and widely read pamphlet, first published in January of 1776, clearly and persuasively argues for American separation from Great Britain and paves the way for the Declaration of Independence. Credited with having changed the minds of many, the highly influential landmark document attacks the monarchy, cites the evils of government and combines idealism with practical economic concerns.… (more)

» see all 12 descriptions

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