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Common Sense (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – April 22, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0486296029 ISBN-10: 0486296024

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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: 0.2 x 5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (240 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Among the most influential authors and reformers of his age, Thomas Paine (1737–1809) was born in England but went on to play an important role in both the American and French Revolutions. In 1774, he emigrated to America where, for a time, he helped to edit the Pennsylvania Magazine. On January 10, 1776, he published his pamphlet Common Sense, a persuasive argument for the colonies' political and economic separation from Britain.
Common Sense cites the evils of monarchy, accuses the British government of inflicting economic and social injustices upon the colonies, and points to the absurdity of an island attempting to rule a continent. Credited by George Washington as having changed the minds of many of his countrymen, the document sold over 500,000 copies within a few months.
Today, Common Sense remains a landmark document in the struggle for freedom, distinguished not only by Paine's ideas but also by its clear and passionate presentation. Designed to ignite public opinion against autocratic rule, the pamphlet offered a careful balance between imagination and judgment, and appropriate language and expression to fit the subject. It immediately found a receptive audience, heartened Washington's despondent army, and foreshadowed much of the phrasing and substance of the Declaration of Independence.

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Customer Reviews

Every American should be required to read this book. !
Common Sense, The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine is a book that inspired our Founding Fathers to push for Independence.
Marc John Ellison
After reading the book, readers may have a better understanding of what it takes to build a nation.
R. DelParto

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

136 of 140 people found the following review helpful By R. DelParto VINE VOICE on November 13, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In an unrelenting quest to understanding the history of the United States, one obscure name comes to mind, Thomas Paine. Paine helped establish the meaning of democracy and the "united" in United States. His two monumental works, COMMON SENSE AND RIGHTS OF MAN, provided the philosophical and rhetorical building blocks that the founding fathers, such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, et al., would emulate with the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Many take for granted the origins of freedom and democracy in the United States, and as with many school history textbooks depict, Paine merely appears in a paragraph or two, and quickly disappears to historical oblivion.

Nevertheless, when one reads COMMON SENSE AND RIGHTS OF MAN: AND OTHER ESSENTIAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS PAINE, there will be no doubt how significant his philosophical and political writings transformed the political structure of the colonies. Although this may sound somewhat romanticized, Paine's words ignited the energy for the colonists to free themselves from the tyrannical-monarchical leadership of England's King George III. With all the talk of Paine being a founding father, he may also be considered the father of revolution, American Revolution and French Revolution, and human rights. Without the inspiration from his friend Edmund Burke, author of REFLECTIONS ON THE REVOLUTION IN FRANCE, Paine may not have been able to write the pamphlet Rights of Man. Indeed, his power of the written word translated to revolutionary action, and Jeffersonian ideology.

In clear and no nonsense language, Paine's perspective of the state of the colonies are elaborately told in COMMON SENSE.
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92 of 98 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
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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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Theresa Vawter on August 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
"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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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Thomas A. Fenton on December 10, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Thomas Paine is essential reading to anyone who wants to understand American History. However, this particular edition, presented by Signet Classics, is the most disappointing presentation of any classic I have ever seen. While "Common Sense" appears to be presented in its entirety, "The American Crisis" (aka simply "The Crisis") is not. Parts 2, 6, and 9-12 are omitted entirely, and parts 3, 4, 7 & 8 are presented with only "selections". I don't know about any other readers, but this is extremely annoying to me. It is almost as annoying as when Readers Digest decided to present an edited version of The Bible, omitting sections they felt were unimportant because they were duplicates of other sections. I certainly do not equate the writings of Thomas Paine with those of the Bible, but the principle is the same: I do not want someone omitting sections that the author, whether it is God or Thomas Paine, felt should be part of what he had to say. I am reading "The Crisis" presented in a library copy edited by Eric Foner and am looking for an edition of my own. If you want to just hit the highlights of Paine's work, then the Signet edition may be for you. If you want to read Thomas Paine as he spoke to America, Britain and the world, don't waste your money on this edition.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Maria Folsom on January 21, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is what we're founded on, what America is supposed to be, and the way we should conduct our political affairs. Paine should probably be required reading for every citizen, every student, anyone wondering what freedom really means. Besides being informative, it is incisive, sarcastic, humorous, and passionate. The English is old and dated, but that just adds to its delight. I read this in short segments and then thought about each chapter. It made me proud to be an American and sad to realize how much freedom we've lost since Paine's day.
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