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Common Sense (Dover Thrift Editions) [Paperback]

Thomas Paine
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 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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Common Sense (Dover Thrift Editions) + Pocket Constitution (Text from the U.S. Bicentennial Commission Edition)
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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 (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
84 of 90 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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48 of 53 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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13 of 15 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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10 of 12 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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9 of 11 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Everybody should read this
Classic tract from American Revolution. Paine argues very convincingly against monarchy as a form of government, and the necessity of independence from England. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Bama Engineer
4.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for AP HS classes
Bought this for my son. He needs it for required summer reading for a couple of his AP classes in HS. I may read it too ;)
Published 26 days ago by happyin2son
5.0 out of 5 stars If you've never read it, and are a lover of history, you owe it to...
I had read about "Common Sense" in history classes, but finally read the book itself. The American Revolution is a fascinating time in history......... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Reading in Alaska
1.0 out of 5 stars alright basic book
the english in the book is not modern and hard to keep up with. a more up to date version maybe rewritten in modern english would be better to buy
Published 2 months ago by Arthur
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Common Sense
For many years I used to see brief quotes of this book here and there. Was so happy to purchase it for myself and although it's not a long book, it is chock full of wisdom!
Published 2 months ago by Janet S.
5.0 out of 5 stars BOOK
Wonderful publication.
A very valuable addition to my research library.
Very informative and easy reading.
Extremely pleased with this purchase. Read more
Published 2 months ago by GWENDOLYN DORSEY - WPI Philosophy Writer
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
The book is straight forward with the information in the document without someone else's opinion mixed in as is often the case with these types of books. Read more
Published 2 months ago by bookwormser
Who wouldn't love this? Those who'd like to think of history as "something other than what it really was. Read more
Published 3 months 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 3 months 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 4 months ago by marion chubick
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