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Common Sense (Dover Thrift Editions) [Paperback]

by Thomas Paine
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 22, 1997 0486296024 978-0486296029
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. This highly influential landmark document attacks the monarchy, cites the evils of government and combines idealism with practical economic concerns. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (April 22, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486296024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486296029
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars more than history September 16, 1999
By A Customer
I read the other reviews and while I agree with them, I must add that this book is more than history. I remember reading Paine's critique of the English government being "so exceedingly complex" that when a problem developed, politicians would fight for years deciding whose fault it was. Finally, when they would try to solve the problem, everyone had a different solution. I thought I was reading an editorial from USNews. I was amazed that many problems that incited the colonies to revolt are now present in our new government. Read this as more than great history. Read it as political science, and public commentary.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The logic of Common Sense August 16, 2000
"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." This is just a sample of the wisdom of Thomas Paine in Common Sense. His vivid words and sound arguements make it clear why this pamphlet helped to ignite the revolution. He starts by discussing the general design of government and talking briefly about the English Constitution. The second chapter deals with how silly the whole concept of heredity succession is and how the monarchy has failed. It's reminiscent of Sir Thomas More's Utopia in that respect. Chapter three discusses America at the current time and chapter four is about America's ability to fight Britain at the time. The appendix refutes arguements in the king's speech, which reached America the day Common Sense came out. After reading this important piece of American literature I was ready to go out and fight the British. Thomas Paine's words still have that effect 224 years later.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rationale for a Revolution February 14, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Writing a review for this book is a lot like writing a review for The Constitution. It seems as though there are not enough words to describe the majesty of the document.
Many of the founding fathers lacked the educational training that contemporary politicains have received. With that fact in mind, Common Sense is even more potent. Thomas Paine sought to make his fellow colonists join in rebelling against the King and the British. His argument is based in the relative absurdity of being ruled by a king whose power is gained only because of the status of his parents. Even the first king in succession probably only gained his power by being the most brutal ruffian in his gang of conquerers. For those who suggest that the relationship with Britain need not be changed because "it is not broke, so don't fix it", he uses a child that nurses too long from his mother as a metaphor. Paine continues his writing with other choice prose to rationalize independence.
Paine's words were a biting commentary against the King. Even today, these words maintain their potency. No America should live without reading this book which was the reasoning for our break from Britain.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We have it in our power to begin the world over again" September 6, 2003
What makes "Common Sense" so compelling, even 225 years after it was published, is Paine's impassioned defense of American independence--a passion bordering on demagoguery. Like all heated arguments, this pamphlet is meant to get the blood boiling, and its anger and righteousness (and humor) make it far more readable than most of the writings by the nation's others founders.
Paine starts with a theory of government and an examination of the moral and political deficiencies of the constitutional monarchy practiced in England. He then proceeds to eviscerate the very idea of monarchy, detailing biblical prescriptions against it (as a response to the concept of the "divine right" of kings) and exposing the very silliness of hereditary kingship as a form of government. While perhaps "the present race of kings in the world have had an honorable origin," in all probability "the first of them [was] nothing better than the principal ruffian of some restless gang, whose savage manners or pre-eminence in subtility obtained him the title of chief among plunderers."
He follows this theoretical background with a summary of the ongoing struggle between the colonies and Britain, followed by an outline of proposals for what form an American government might take. Paine then asserts that "a separation between the countries [will] take place at one time or another" and details the advantages--military, economic, and political--that independence will bring. In an appendix, he argues against the futility of any attempt at reconciliation with the British monarchy.
At the end is attached a strongly worded response to a pamphlet written by John Pemberton on behalf of the Quaker community and opposed to military rebellion.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American political thought at its best August 29, 2003
The effect of Paine's monumental work Common Sense on the spirit of the American Revolution can never be measured. This work, originally a pamphlet, inspired and gave courage to the cause of independence, and presented the case for separation from Britain in such a way that it was difficult not to see his point. Paine was a visionary because he recognized that a union between Britain and America could never continue, and that reconciliation (after the conflicts in Boston and other places) would never be possible. This book was read and admired by Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and many other founding fathers, and its precepts did not go unnoticed by these great men.
Today, Paine's thinking is still relevant. His basic thesis that there is a difference between society and government still rings true today. As Paine points out, a society enriches our virtues, but government must restrain our vices. Paine's theory (at the beginning of the work) on the necessity of government, and his idea that the government is best which protects its people at the least possible cost to personal liberty, is just as interesting and inspiring today as it was 225 years ago. This pamphlet is applicable today as well as then because Paine believed that men should be good, and that this was the ultimate principal of successful government. "Of more worth is one honest man to society," he says, "and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived." The world would be a better place if we all had a little Common Sense.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the feint of literature...
A good read for anyone who can keep up with 1700's dialogue. It wasn't exactly what I expected, but once I read it I realized why it is not on the 'required reading' list for our... Read more
Published 2 days ago by J.M. Hope
5.0 out of 5 stars A true Patriot
I've always wondered how our founding fathers felt at this period of time .Well Thomas Paine dose that in this book a short read but straight to the point. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Patrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
Excellent read and amazingly relevant to today. Gives a comprehensive picture of the global environment of the times and the factors affecting the timing of the revolution.
Published 17 days ago by C. Harris
Who wouldn't love this? Those who'd like to think of history as "something other than what it really was. Read more
Published 25 days ago by wefishallday
5.0 out of 5 stars Commen Sense
a human quality close to extinction. If one is not used to reading older writings, there will be initial difficulty, however the insights are worth the struggle.
Published 1 month ago by A. Bird
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Paine Common Sense.... Great
Interesting document presentation. We will continue reading this one. Quick on sending each document to us was very helpful. Marion and Ava
Published 1 month ago by marion chubick
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. Every American should read this.
I have become more and more interested in history as I get older and this is one of the great documents of the American Revolution. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mattsplat1975
4.0 out of 5 stars A Well-Written Classic
This is a Classic, written a long time ago and is still enjoyed today. Although this is not my absolute favorite, it is very good and clearly written. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Velvetablue
5.0 out of 5 stars Small and cheap
The book arrived in perfect condition and is exactly what I thought I was buying. Just ensure you want this particular version of this famous piece and you can't go wrong.
Published 2 months ago by Bob
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Love history and anything that makes it real. Reading this book in the language it was written does this for me.
Published 2 months ago by Geraldine M. Dominski
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