Although little used today, pamphlets were an important medium for the spread of ideas in the 16th through 19th centuries. Before the era of radio communication and television, when you wished to convey a message to a large audience, you published it. Originally published anonymously, “Common Sense” not only advocates independence but explains how the American colonies can easily rule themselves and prosper without interference from Britain. Common Sense is considered one of the most influential pamphlets in history and played a significant role in transforming a colonial squabble into a unified, focused,
and passionate American Revolution.
At the time Paine wrote “Common Sense,” most colonists considered themselves to be aggrieved Englishmen whose only misfortune was to have been born outside the mother country. Paine fundamentally changed this perception by reminding them that Americans came willingly to these countries to escape persecution and religious intolerance. Through the power of the pen, he convinced many soldiers to remain with Washington through the defeats and deprivations of the winter of 1776-77.
“As a long and violent abuse of power is generally the means of calling the right of it in question, (and in matters too which might never have been thought of, had not the sufferers been aggravated into the inquiry,) and as the king of England hath undertaken in his own right, to support the parliament in what he calls theirs, and as the good people of this country are grievously oppressed by the combination, they have an undoubted privilege to inquire into the pretensions of both, and equally to reject the usurpations of either.”Thomas Paine
Unlike Mr. Paine, I will not convince you to try my Cherry Pils. Go ahead live in tyranny. Those of us from the Enlightenment can enjoy this beer.
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