In all the turbulent history of the fledgling nation of the United States, one document stands above all others as the most adamant and indefatigable proclamation and defense of human liberty. Even the Constitution, that noble Magna Carta, is ideologically prostrate before the unimpeachable ideas expressed by Thomas Paine in Common Sense. First published anonymously in January of 1776, the first edition was rapaciously devoured by the colonial society of the time at such an incredible pace it had been reprinted over 120,000 times in three months, making it the most widely read piece of literature in early American history after the Bible. Thomas Paine, a moral and philosophical outcast of his English homelands and perennial ne’er-do-well, found his raison-d'etre in the murkily uncertain and dashingly dangerous moment in history that is known to us now as the American War of Independence in which the shining light of liberty was wrested from English hands.i Foreword
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