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Common Sense is perhaps the work single most responsible for the American Revolution. It brought the idea of freedom and liberty down from the intellectuals to the common American colonist. Written by Thomas Paine and published January 10th, 1776, it was the first publication to openly ask for independence from Britain.
When it was released, it was an instant best seller. Most every literate colonist was very familiar with it. In fact, it sold an amazing 600,000 copies to a population of only three million. Of the three million colonists at the time, twenty percent were slaves and fifty percent were indentured servants. For the colonies as a whole, it provided a rallying cry uniting the colonists in the common cause of liberty.
There probably is no other document that served such a vital role in creating American independence than Common Sense. Common Sense was used by Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the Declaration of Independence and helped George Washington decide for succession. Many of the founding documents rely on it and without it, history would have no doubt played out vastly differently.
If you are at all interested in American history or the cause of freedom, take the time to listen to Common Sense.