What Is Thomas Paine Famous For?


Quick Answer

Thomas Paine is most famous for his 50-page pamphlet, “Common Sense.” “Common Sense” was the most popular brochure that supported complete American independence. The brochure was released in January 1776 and sold close to 500,000 copies that year. It was noted for Paine’s use of simplicity to argue complex points.

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Full Answer

“Common Sense” expanded on Paine’s ideal that the republican government was superior to a monarchy. The pamphlet was inspired after the first battles of the American Revolutionary War in Lexington and Concord; Paine stated the importance of detaching from Great Britain instead of merely staging revolution. Paine also explained how the world was impacted by the American Revolution and stressed the importance of equality among all citizens.

“Common Sense” was often discussed among Americans, and was passed around and read aloud, and it was used to encourage independence as well as to recruit for the Continental Army. Paine further joined the battle for independence by fortifying Washington’s army with the Crisis papers during the American Revolution, and released “The Rights of Man” in defense of the French Revolution. Paine’s opposition to the king of Britain’s execution made him a political prisoner, and he published “The Age of Reason” and “Agrarian Justice” after his release in 1794.

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