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.
It has stood throughout history as one of the most vigorous denunciations of imperial ideology and cuts through the arrogance of global governance that was only just beginning to take shape. As an advocate of the abolition of all forms of human slavery, Thomas Paine lived, breathed, and wrote a century before his time.
His was a mind fully beyond the world in which he was forced to make his living and it did not allow itself the respite we so often grant ourselves in the radiant afterglow of a hard-fought victory. Instead he traveled across the breadth of the Western World, bearing with him the inextinguishable flame of the one shared human desire and with it stoked the revolutionary fires of Europe to a boiling point.
The fervency of his spirit and the acceleration of his career upon his arrival in the colonies has led some to speculate that he may have been a member of the ancient craft of Freemasonry, which was then disorganized, fractured and full of vigor and had not yet become the behemoth that straddled the British Empire in the 19th century.
Although no definite proof of his initiation remains extant, Paine extolled in his writings and demonstrated in his actions the qualities that true Freemasons hold to be the sacrosanct commandments of the Universe itself.
To pursue the fulfillment of the triune virtues of the human race — Liberty, Equality, Fraternity — and the overwhelming commitment to do what is morally required whether the reward be ridicule or praise.
In that spirit, his timeless words are here republished that they may breathe fresh air onto the smoldering coals of human autonomy and that by their impact upon your actions, return us to a state of true freedom in the quest after Life, Liberty, and Property.
To The Glory Of God
And The Perfection Of Humanity
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