Thomas Paine's Common Sense
Even with the first shots of the Revolution fired at Lexington and Concord, many colonists and colonial government leaders still felt the differences with the Great Britain could be reconciled. They were not quite ready to declare independence. In January of 1776, an unknown immigrant named Thomas Paine published a pamphlet persuading the colonists that separation and independence was inevitable. His pamphlet was appropriately titled Common Sense. His pamphlet sold 120,000 copies (with an American population of three million), which made it the best selling work of an American author in its time. This becomes an essential tool for independence supporters such as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, to persuade the Continental Congress to declare independence in July of 1776.
Later, Thomas Paine pens more encouraging words to Americans regarding the need to persevere during the Revolution in a pamphlet called The Crisis, in which he encourages American troops to keep fighting. This becomes an essential tool for Washington when he is faced with his own crisis at Valley Forge and the need for his troops to reenlist.
Notable Quotes from Common Sense:
“I challenge the warmest advocate for reconciliation to show a single advantage that this continent can reap by being connected with Great Britain. I repeat the challenge; not a single advantage is derived. . . "
"O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia, and Africa, have long expelled her. —Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.”
"Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither they have fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still."