On January 9, 1776, writer Thomas Paine released his treatise "Common Sense," in which he argued for American independence. Although they are rarely used now, pamphlets were an essential medium for the dissemination of ideas from the 16th through the 19th century. Today, they remain relevant because no idea is too small or too large to be expressed in writing.
Pamphlets are easy to produce and distribute, and so many important texts have been published as leaflets that they can be considered a genre of their own. Some examples include Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter From Birmingham Jail" and "Stokely Carmichael's Article on Black Power." Gandhi's "Hind Swaraj" (Indian Home Rule) and Oswald Spengler's "The Decline of the West" were other famous pamphlets written in the form of letters.
Common Sense was such a success that its author was able to publish another pamphlet just six weeks later. In this way, Paine helped lay the foundation for modern journalism by demonstrating that literature could be produced at a rate even faster than speeches could be delivered in Congress.
Although Paine did not know it at the time, "Common Sense" would become one of the most read documents in American history. It is estimated that some 20 million copies of this single work were printed in Britain and America during the years following its release.
A brief political booklet authored by Thomas Paine was published in America in January 1776. The brief booklet, named "Common Sense," was written in a way that most Americans could understand and articulated arguments for why the American colonies should declare independence from the United Kingdom. The publication of "Common Sense" had a huge impact on sparking off a new wave of patriotism among Americans and also influenced people across the Atlantic to support the cause of independence.
Paine's argument was not based on religious beliefs but rather focused on the idea that the British government had become corrupt and no longer represented the will of the people. He argued that since America was a free country there was no reason why she should remain part of a corrupt empire. Paine's arguments were very similar to those used by other intellectuals such as Adam Smith who two years earlier had published his own essay on economic theory called "The Wealth of Nations." This shows that many influential thinkers in Europe and America were already advocating for American independence before "Common Sense" was published.
After the publication of "Common Sense" many politicians and leaders across the colonies began to believe that an independent America would be able to defeat the British empire in war. In April 1776 a conference was held in Philadelphia where representatives from each colony came together to draft a formal declaration of independence.
Thomas Paine's essay, published in 1776, influenced many American colonists to favor independence. A Revolutionary War commander who argued for American independence from Britain in the pamphlet "Common Sense" (1776). The booklet sold over 200,000 copies and helped persuade people to support the cause.
Paine also wrote The Crisis, a series of articles that appeared in several British newspapers between October 1777 and December 1777. These articles called for peace negotiations with America rather than war with them. They are considered one of the most effective campaigns for bringing about an end to the American Revolution.
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The purpose of Thomas Paine's political treatise "Common Sense" was to persuade the American people of the need of freedom and independence from Great Britain. Because pamphlets were more widespread and widely available during the period, they served as a significant tool of disseminating ideas and viewpoints. Pamphlets often included illustrations and arguments in support of their views.
In 1775, just before the outbreak of the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay entitled "Some Thoughts on Government." In it he argued that a well-ordered government should be based on justice, not power, and should include all the people, not just a select few. This essay was printed as a broadside under the title "Some Fruits of Solitude: And A Modest Hint or Two Against Excessive Democracy."
In January 1776, another English-born revolutionary, Joseph Warren, published an essay entitled "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country." It called for the eating of children to avoid creating poor families by removing their ability to work. This pamphlet had a great impact on public opinion in America when it was first published. It is considered by many to be the first effective anti-slavery publication. As part of its effort to convince people of the need for freedom and independence from England, Paine used this same argument to support his cause.