Common Sense
First Edition   ©2001

Common Sense

and Related Writings

Thomas Paine , Thomas P. Slaughter (University of Notre Dame)

  • ISBN-10: 0-312-20148-6; ISBN-13: 978-0-312-20148-7; Format: Paper Text, 176 pages

Thomas Paine’s Common Sense is one of the most important and often assigned primary documents of the Revolutionary era. This edition of the pamphlet is unique in its inclusion of selections from Paine’s other writings from 1775 and 1776 — additional essays that contextualize Common Sense and provide unusual insight on both the writer and the cause for which he wrote. The volume introduction includes coverage of Paine’s childhood and early adult years in England, arguing for the significance of personal experience, environment, career, and religion in understanding Paine’s influential political writings. The volume also includes a glossary, a chronology, 12 illustrations, a selected bibliography, and questions for consideration.
"This should be a very attractive book for students in American history courses. Not only does Tom Slaughter do a brilliant job in the introduction in making Paine out to be a very believable, human, though flawed person, but also he does a masterful job in helping the reader understand the process through which Paine became radicalized. In addition, Slaughter has made an excellent selection of Paine's essays that round out a picture of an intriguing, but lesser known, American revolutionary."
James Roger Sharp, Syracuse University