My common sense hero, Thomas Paine

Busy scribbling today, so I am cutting and pasting the following from The Writer’s Almanac (great source of literary tidbits and a daily poetry fix):

“It was on this day in 1776 that a 77-page pamphlet called “Common Sense” was published anonymously, making the case that the American colonies should declare independence from Great Britain. It had been written by a man named Thomas Paine. The pamphlet sold more than 500,000 copies, more copies than any other publication had ever sold at that time in America.

Adams would always be somewhat jealous of the attention “Common Sense” received, but even he had to admit that it was “Common Sense,” more than anything else, that had persuaded most ordinary Americans to support independence. Adams said, “Without the pen of the author of ‘Common Sense,’ the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.””

Thomas Paine was not afraid to disturb the universe.


9 Replies to “My common sense hero, Thomas Paine”

  1. This is the main reason Washington turned down the offer to rule America as a king. He didn’t want to allow the possibility that eventually Thomas would become a royal Paine.

  2. The phrase of his for our times– for all times, perhaps, but ours especially because of the Culture of Fear and Consumption America is trapped in– would be “What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly.”

  3. Your Novels

    Hello, my name is Emily.
    I know this has nothing to do with your journal entry but I just finished reading Speak. I’m sure you get this alot, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to research and see what else you have written. I, myself, am also a writer and hope to get published some day. I have a million stories running through my head as we speak. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that your style of writing is an attention grabber and truely amazing. I have never been raped but I have been depressed. As a matter a fact, I’m almost positive my mother bought me the book Speak because I was so down about life. I needed a lift to get back to how I used to be. Here I go telling you my whole life story when all I really wanted to tell you was, good job! If you have any tips…from a professional to a learner, I’d love to know what you have to say about writing. is my email

    and one more thing, when do you think your book “Twisted” will be out on the shelves? It sounds interesting comming from a male point of view. Let me know how that goes.


  4. random crap

    I’m an idiot and people really, really suck sometimes.

    Did you get lots of snow too? I need to buy better boots. The snow is higher than the top of them, so my socks get wet.

    Have you read “Or Give Me Death” by Ann Rinaldi? Kickass book.

    When you aren’t turning them into novels, how do you deal with nightmares? They really mess me up (like barely functioning) for days after I have one. The plot and setting and characters change, but it’s always the same theme.

    I’m glad the poetry thing was good. I need to get away so bad. Hopefully I’ll be in Yorkshire for June. I get really homesick if I don’t go there every couple years. It’s been 3.

    Ok, I’m shutting up now. Gotta go to bed soon.

  5. I read Common Sense in 2004, and was amazed at how witty and stirring and relevant it was, I wish it was required reading in AP US History, or in middle school. It really is one of those works that came out at the right time and galvanized a society. The Revolution made so much more sense to me emotionally after having read it, Paine’s command of the language and of history is unique. And his life story is no less fascinating. I am so happy to see you mentioning it!:-)

  6. Re: random crap

    We were bummed because we only got a few inches. Bah.

    Nightmares go into the dream journal. Once I see a pattern, I freewrite about it until I figure out how it applies to my waking life. Once I start dealing with the issue, I sleep better.

    Getting away was great – Yorkshire sounds loverly!!

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