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January 22 , 2011

Common Sense (Illustrated)


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The Thomas Paine Reader

This major collection demonstrates the extent to which Thomas Paine (1737-1809) was an inspiration to the Americans in their struggle for independence, a passionate supporter of the French Revolution and perhaps the outstanding English radical writer of his age. It contains all of Paine's major works including "The Rights of Man", his…



Thomas Paine was one of the founding fathers of the United States. He was also a political activist, philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary that is seen today in the row with the greatest thinkers such as John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Hobbes, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. Their collected thoughts have had strong influence on building the foundation of the United States and its endeavor of open society.

Thomas Paine’s COMMON SENSE was published in 1776. The structure of COMMON SENSE was written as a sermon to make Paine’s case to American people. Logically, the book was written and reasoned in a simple style to present a distinctly American political identity so that common people understood that American freedom from British rule was not a question but a needed immediate action. In the book, Thomas Paine inspired the people in the Thirteen Colonies to fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. He convinced the people the advantages of independence in a clear and simple language through connecting independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs.

It was published at the right beginning of the American Revolution and became an immediate popular book. General Washington himself had it read to all his troops during the revolution. As historian Gordon S. Wood once said that the book of Common Sense was "the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era". It had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history and it remains the all-time best selling American title today.

On September 23, 2015 , Chinese President Xi Jinping, the powerful leader of the last and largest communist country in the world, visited the United States and claimed to American people that he enjoyed reading the books by Thomas Paine. Interestingly, this reminded American people that in 1800 Paine had a meeting with Napoleon in Paris. Napoleon also claimed he slept with a copy of Rights of Man under his pillow and told Paine that "a statue of gold should be erected to you in every city in the universe." However, Paine’s response to Napoleon’s progress towards dictatorship was: "the completest charlatan that ever existed". Although Thomas Paine cannot directly respond to the president Xi Jinping’s praise of his books today, former secretary of the United States Hillary Clinton responded on September 27, 205 during Xi’s same U.S. trip to UN in the United States "Xi hosting a meeting on women's rights at the UN while persecuting feminists? Shameless". Hillary’s response to President Xi Jinping is almost repeating Paine’s response to Napoleon again.

Thomas Paine is forever remembered as a philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary through his extremely influential works. His works have produced great influence on building the foundation of the United States. His books are the wakeup call to the self-indulged dictators. His view to the real world became widely recognised as the foremost philosophical and political voice of freedom. His theory still remains true and his spirit of hard core to challenge the establishments still inspires the young generations around the world to build and evolve our democratic systems around worlds for a better future. Paine’s influence has been felt in nearly every field of the humanities and sciences.

The book also contains the title Life of Thomas Paine by Moncure Daniel Conway to help readers better understand the historical background of that Paine wrote Common Sense.

This book is one of the most important ones about the thoughts of human rights and freedom by Thomas Paine, one of the greatest thinkers of modern political philosophy on the planet.


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