Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine was a disgruntled Englishmen who came to America in 1774. He published the pamphlet ‘Common Sense’ in January 1776. This helped to bring about popular support for the Revolution. The document itself was simply written and the price was kept cheap in order to reach a wider audience. In the first month 100 000 copies were sold and half a million were sold by year’s end. John Adams stated that ‘without the pen of the author of ‘Common Sense’ the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain’. Historian Gordon Wood describes it as the ‘most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era’. In addition to this Thomas Paine published the pamphlet ‘American Crisis’ in December 1776. This was read to soldiers to raise morale before Battle of Trenton. It was also read in public places such as taverns and published in newspapers. This helped to raise enlistments in the Continental Army. Paine also participated in Congress, sitting on Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs and traveled to France to raise funds with Franklin.