Common Sense


Introduction: Common Sense by Thomas Paine was a pamphlet written in 1776 trying to convince the colonists to break away from England. The main points in the book were that England was a small island thousands of miles away that was controlling the colonists, that King George the Third was a bad ruler, and that everything the British did cost the colonists money. Thomas Paine tried to prove to people that they could take control, and have their own government, and make decisions for themselves, rather than listening to the British and what they wanted for the colonies. Thomas Paine used plain, simple language to express his points so that the colonists could read the pamphlet and understand what he was trying to say. After Common Sense was published, more and more people began to want to break away from the British. Although Common Sense was a small pamphlet, it caused big changes among the colonists.

The Colonists Reaction to Common Sense
By Emma

 1. Article: Common Sense was a book written by Thomas Paine in 1776. The purpose of the book was to convince colonists to break away from England. Although this book was a small pamphlet written by one man, it had a great effect on the events of the Revolutionary War. “A Covenanted People” called Common Sense “…by far the most influential tract of the American Revolution…” Common Sense put all of the blame for bad events on King George the Third. The main points in the book were that King George the Third was a tyrant, that a little island thousands of miles away shouldn’t control the colonies, and that everything the British did cost the colonies money. This put things in perspective for many of the colonists, and caused many colonists to change the way they thought about the British.

Common Sense was written in clear, simple language so that all of the colonists could understand it. The pamphlet was read all over the colonies, and almost everybody heard Thomas Paine’s arguments. Before Common Sense was published, John Adams predicted that about 1/3 of the colonists were in favor of breaking away from the British. However, after Common Sense was published, about ¾ of the colonists wanted to gain independence. Common Sense inspired many colonists to break away from the British to gain independence. It convinced many loyalists to become patriots. Common Sense also inspired many of the leaders from the colonies who previously not wanted to break away from the British to gain independence. At the Second Continental Congress, over half of the delegates from the colonies wanted to break away from England. Clearly, the participation of an individual citizen, in this case, Thomas Paine, can greatly influence events.

2. Vocabulary Words
Colonists: Anyone who lived in British colonies in America- whether they were loyalists or patriots
Tyrant: a ruler who uses his/her power unfairly
Delegates: a person designated to represent another group of people
Second Continental Congress: The second time all of the delegates from the colonies met- as a result of this, paper money was printed, the Continental Army was formed, with George Washington as its leader, and as a group they decided that they wanted freedom from England
Loyalists: people who lived in the 13 colonies and supported the British
Patriots: people who lived in the 13 colonies and wanted to break away from the British

3. Pictures
Second Continental Congress below

4. Primary Source Document
This is a picture of the front cover of Common Sense. At the top, it says "Common Sense, adressed to the inhabitants of America on the following interesting subjects,". This is saying that the pamphlet is geared towards the colonists, about four topics. These five topics were "Of the Origin and Defign of the Government, in general, with concife remarks on the English Constitution", meaning that the first section was about where the English government got its powers, with comments on England's constitiution. The second section is "Of Monarchy and
Hereditary Succession" means the section is about how
land organized the government unfairly, and how the king inherited his power, and wasn't elected. The third topic was
"Thoughts on the present state of American affairs" which means the section was about the state of American government and
descisions at the time, and the effect of the British government. The fourth section was "Of the present ability of America, with some miscellanious reflections," and this section was about how
ready America was to break away from the British and gain independance, and some other facts about the British navy and religious opinions were included.

5. Link to another site
To find out more information about Common Sense and the colonists' reaction, go to this website. You can also read the whole document here.

6. Differentiated: Poem

In 1776 Common Sense became known
The need for independence had certainly grown
Some red with anger became loyalists
Some full of freedom sided with patriots
In Philadelphia the delegates met to discuss
They decided there were things they had to adjust
A couple months later George Washington led
Troops full of patriots to defeat British in red!

7. Works Cited

"Common Sense." Common Sense (2009): n. pag. Web. 21 Dec 2010. <>.
Williamson, Audrey. "Absract." Thomas Paine's Common Sense (2008): n. pag. Web. 21 Dec 2010. <>.
Stevos, Joyce. "Common Sense is Published." Creating America. United States: McDougal Littel, 2003. Print.

Thomas Paine
By Katherine
1. Article: Thomas Paine was a famous writer on politics and religion. His writings greatly influenced the political thinking of the leaders of the American Revolution. He was born on January 29th, 1737 in Thetford, England. He was poor and lacked good education, but by age 12 he was apprenticed to his father to learn the corset-making trade. After a few years he married, but his first wife died. He separated from his second wife and by 1774 Thomas Paine was poor and without a job. His close friend, Benjamin Franklin advised him to go to America in search of a fresh start. Soon after arriving in America, Paine became the contributing editor to the Pennsylvania Magazine, where he began working for independence. In 1776, he published his first pamphlet, Common Sense. Common Sense demanded the independence of the colonies from Britain and the forming of a government. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other colonial leaders read the pamphlet, as did hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans. Common Sense became the most widely circulated pamphlet in American history of that time.
After publishing his second pamphlet, Thomas Paine joined the Continental Army. In April 1777, after declaring independence, he went on to become secretary to the Congressional Committee of Foreign Affairs. With a couple of political decisions Paine made, he gained several enemies forcing him to resign his post. Once again jobless, Thomas continued on to France in 1787 and then to England. He published yet another pamphlet while in England and another one several years later when he was arrested for being an American citizen in France.
In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson arranged for Paine's return to the United States. During his last years, Thomas Paine was poor, ill, and a social outcast. He died on June 8, 1809. He was buried on his farm in New Rochelle, New York, but 10 years later his remains were moved to England. To this day, the location of his grave in unknown.
By publishing his writing and sharing it with the colonists, Thomas Paine helped the colonies have the courage to declare their independence. Without Paine to convince them and push them in the right direction, the people in America might not have had the incentive or enough support to become a free nation. He succeeded in making the people who doubted they would ever be able to break away from the British that they could do it. Thomas Paine played a very influential role in the freedom of the colonies from Britain.

2. Vocabulary: Apprenticed: a person who works for another in order to learn a trade
Corset: a close-fitting undergarment, stiffened with whalebone or similar material and often capable of being tightened by lacing, enclosing the trunk\
Pamphlet: a complete publication of generally less than 80 pages stitched or stapled together and usually having a paper cover
Continental Army: the Revolutionary War Army, authorized by the Continental Congress in 1775 and led by George Washington
Independence: freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others
3. Picture:
4. Website: Additional Information on Thomas Paine
5. Primary Source Document:
"Everything that is right or natural pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, “’Tis time to part.” Even the distance at which the Almighty has placed England and America is a strong and natural proof that the authority of the one over the other was never the design of heaven."
Thomas Paine, Common Sense

When Thomas Paine wrote this in his book, he was referring to the need for separation from England. He wrote of the men who had died fighting and how now, even in their death they yearned for freedom. He spoke about how we were letting England have control, even from 3,000 miles away. He knew that it was not right for them to be controlled, and that life wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Thomas Paine shows in this quote that we will need courage and that some may die, but they will die fighting for a brave and noble cause; freedom.

6. See Worksheet:
7. Works Cited:

Schlereth, Eric R. "Paine, Thomas." World Book Student. World Book, 2011. Web. 3 Jan. 2011.

Sheldon, Garrett Ward. "Thomas Paine, political philosophy of." Encyclopedia of Political Thought. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2001. American History Online. Facts On File, Inc. (accessed January 3, 2011).

Garcia , Jesus. Creating America-A History of the United States. NY Edition. United States : McDougal Littel, 2003. Print

By Katherine

“Common Sense” By: Lizzy
1) “Common Sense” was published January 10th 1776, written by Thomas Paine and it was a great success. Colonist loved Thomas Paine’s style of writing that was so easy to understand. Although Thomas Paine was only one individual citizen he made a great influence on events. Since “Common Sense” was so convincing lots of colonists became patriots. Many colonists were against Britain now, which helped the colonies win the American Revolution. Who knows what the outcome of the war would have been if Thomas Paine hadn’t written “Common Sense”.
The main point of “Common Sense” was that the colonies should break away from Britain and becomeindependent. It had many powerful arguments convincing the colonist to turn against Britain. One argument Thomas Paine made was that a small island across the ocean should not be controlling a land mass as big as the colonies. Once the colonists thought about those words they realized that Thomas Paine had made an interesting point. Another main idea of “Common Sense” was thatmonarchies aren’t a good form of government because of our “King” (God). Colonists agreed with Thomas Paine’s arguments and soon turned against Britain.

2) Patriots- a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country.
Colonists- people who lived in the colonies.
Amercian Revolution- a war between the colonies and Britain. The colonists were fighting for freedom and the British were fighting to stay in control of the colonies. The colonists won and gained independence.
Idependent- not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion.
Monarchies-supreme power over government or even a single person.



This is a picture of Thomas Paine,
The author of “Common Sense”

This is the sacred bo0klet Common Sense,
written by Thomas Paine and it persuaded colonists
to be against the British.

4) For additional information about the pamphlet, Common Sense, go to
external image 32167.bmp

5) This image shows the colonist’s reaction after the pamphlet “Common Sense” was read to them. In colonial times not everyone knew how to read so only those educated were taught to read and write. People would all gather in town circles and someone would read “Common Sense” to who ever came to listen. Colonists felt, after hearing what Thomas Paine had to say, that becoming an independent nation was a good idea. So colonists would talk about listening to Thomas Paine’s ideas, about breaking away from the British, after “Common Sense” was read to them and this picture is a drawing of one of the colonists’ discussions. It was drawn by someone who was actually at this meeting himself.

6) See printed out word search.

7. Works Cited

Garcia , Jesus. Creating America-A History of the United States. NY Edition. United States : McDougal Littel, 2003. Print

Schlereth, Eric R. "Paine, Thomas." World Book Student. World Book, 2011. Web. 3 Jan. 2011.

10 Quiz Questions:
1. Thomas Paine was born on January 29, Blank
2. Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, Blank
3. When Thomas Paine was 12, he became an Blank
4. Common Sense was published in Blank.
5. Thomas Paine believed that King George the Third was a Blank
6. Thomas Paine convinced people to gain Blank from England.
7. One important point in Common Sense was that Blank weren't a good form of government.
8. Common Sense had a great affect on the Blank Blank
9. Common Sense was written in Blank language so that the colonists could understand it.
10. After Common Sense was written, Blank (number) of the colonists wanted to break away from England.