Common Sense: Independence (1776)

Common Sense: Independence (1776)

After reading Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, many citizens shared the pamphlet with friends.  George Washington described the general reaction to Common SenseMy countrymen I know, from their form of government, and steady attachment heretofore to royalty, will come reluctantly into the idea of independence, but time and persecution bring many wonderful things to pass; and by private letters, which I have lately received from Virginia, I find "Common Sense" is working a powerful change there in the minds of many men.”  George Washington, Letter to Joseph Reed, April 1, 1776

“… We ought to reflect, that there are three different ways by which an independency may hereafter be effected, and that one of those three, will, one day or other, be the fate of America…  [1] By the legal voice of the people in Congress; [2] by a military power, or [3] by a mob…  Should an independency be brought about by the first of those means, we have every opportunity and every encouragement before us, to form the noblest, purest constitution on the face of the earth. We have it in our power to begin the world over again.

… WHEREFORE, instead of gazing at each other with suspicious or doubtful curiosity, let each of us hold out to his neighbor the hearty hand of friendship, and unite in drawing a line, which, like an act of oblivion, shall bury in forgetfulness every former dissension. Let the names of Whig and Tory be extinct; and let none other be heard among us, than those of a good citizen, an open and resolute friend, and a virtuous supporter of the RIGHTS of MANKIND, and of the FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES OF AMERICA.”  Thomas PaineCommon Sense, January 10, 1776


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