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

June 24, 2019

The Lost Gutenberg

Rare book collectors know the crown jewel of any library would be a complete Gutenberg Bible. Johannes Gutenberg produced perhaps 180 copies. Today, o...
June 17, 2019

The Catacombs

Some of the earliest known examples of Christian art portraying biblical figures are actually underground. In miles of tunnels outside the walls of Ro...
June 10, 2019

Shavuot

Shavuot—the Feast of Weeks, is celebrated seven weeks after Passover—commemorating the first fruits of the harvest, associated with the giving of the...