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

May 13, 2019

Bohun Book of Hours

Throughout the Middle Ages, the aristocracy engaged with the Bible through elegant devotionals known as books of hours. The Bohun Book of Hours and Ps...
May 06, 2019

Biblical Phrases and Idioms

"Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" "Cast the first stone!" "No greater love!" Where have I heard THAT before? Glad you asked, because all three...
April 29, 2019

A Bible That Survived the Titanic

On April 15, 1912, the much promoted unsinkable ship—the Titanic—sank in the North Atlantic after colliding with an iceberg on her maiden voyage to Ne...