Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"

Today we'd use social media to quickly spread a controversial idea, but in the eighteenth century, the printed pamphlet was highly effective. And Thomas Paine took full advantage of it. On January 9, 1776, when Paine published his pamphlet, "Common Sense," he wanted to push the American people toward independence from Britain. It ultimately helped ignite the American Revolution. Thomas Paine argued that the monarchy was evil and should be rejected as a form of government. To underscore his point, he cited the Bible to argue his case -- in Judges 8:22-23: "The Israelites said to Gideon, 'Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson....' Gideon told them, 'I will not rule over you. The LORD will rule over you'" (NRSV).

Share

More Book Minute Features

November 18, 2019

Tyndale Bible

William Tyndale was the first to print the New Testament in the English language in 1526. And ten years later, he was executed for heresy. Tyndale’s N...
November 11, 2019

The Mayflower Compact

November 11, 1620—399 years ago, today—marks the signing of the document that created the first formal government of the New World. But the fresh ink...
November 04, 2019

Hail to the Chief: Thomas Jefferson, Third Preside...

Tom Brokaw: “. . .you feel the excitement of being on the cusp of something so profound you can’t put it into words. . .” Yet Thomas Jefferson did...