Philadelphia Imprint of “Common Sense”
Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution. In January 1776, only about a third of the citizens living in the Americas were in favor of independence from England. Then something happened to change the course of history–and that was the printing of Common Sense. Common Sense was signed “Written by an Englishman”, and it became an immediate success. In relative proportion to the population of the colonies at that time, 2.5 million Americans, it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history. To have an equivalent saturation, imagine all of the volumes of “Harry Potter” being published over a six-month period–rather than ten years! Common Sense presented the American colonists with an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of seeking independence was still undecided. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood.