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Social Studies High School

Thomas Paine and 'Common Sense'

Thomas Paine was a British essayist and political philosopher in the years leading up to and during the American Revolution. His writings and the pamphlets he published were very popular among American colonists and politicians alike. He took on such ideas as America as universal concept, the supreme importance of liberty, and the proper role of a just government. His essay, “Common Sense,” written less than two years after Paine’s arrival from England, was the single most influential document leading to the Declaration of Independence. This audio story takes a brief look back at this influential writer and contains several passages from “Common Sense.” Listen to learn more about Thomas Paine’s life and ideas, and about how his writings helped inspire a revolution.

American Revolution

Story Length: 3:15

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National Public Radio © 2004 National Public Radio, Inc. Used with the permission of NPR. All rights reserved.

AIR DATE: 01/10/2004

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