Thomas Paine Publishes Common Sense
On January 9, 1776, propagandist Thomas Paine anonymously published Common Sense, advocating an immediate declaration of independence from Britain. An instant bestseller in both the colonies and in Britain, Paine baldly stated that King George III was a tyrant and that Americans should shed any sentimental attachment to the monarchy. America, he argued, had a moral obligation to reject monarchy. ‘O! ye that love mankind! Ye that dare opposed not only the tyranny but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the Old World is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted around the globe…. O! receive the fugitive and prepare in time an asylum for mankind,’ he urged. Within a few years, a land with a population of 2.5 million had bought 500,000 copies of Paine’s stirring call for independence.
(Image: Library of Congress)