Estimated read time: 4 min read

One Sentence Summary

"Common Sense" presents persuasive arguments for American independence from British rule.


"Common Sense" is a revolutionary pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1776. This influential work played a pivotal role in inspiring the American Revolution by advocating for independence from Great Britain. It challenged the authority of the British government and monarchy, and its publication fuelled the movement for American independence. The pamphlet's straightforward and persuasive arguments resonated with the American people, and its impact on the revolutionary cause cannot be overstated.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview

"Common Sense" presents a compelling argument for the American colonies to break away from British rule and establish an independent government. Paine articulates the injustices of monarchy and the benefits of self-governance, appealing to the common sense of the American populace.


The pamphlet is set in the backdrop of the American colonies during a time of escalating tensions with Great Britain. The year 1776 marks a critical period in American history, with the colonies on the brink of declaring independence.

Main Characters

Thomas Paine

As the author of "Common Sense," Thomas Paine is the central figure in the pamphlet. He is a passionate advocate for American independence and uses his writing to galvanize public opinion.

Summary of Different Story Points over Chapters

Chapter 1: Of the Origin and Design of Government in General

Paine argues that government is a necessary evil and that society is capable of achieving order and justice without a monarchy. He questions the legitimacy of the British monarchy and calls for self-governance.

Chapter 2: Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession

Paine criticizes the concept of monarchy and hereditary succession, highlighting the inherent flaws and injustices of a system based on birthright. He advocates for a government that derives its authority from the consent of the governed.

Chapter 3: Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs

Paine addresses the current state of affairs in the American colonies, highlighting the need for immediate action and advocating for independence from British rule. He emphasizes the economic and political benefits of self-governance.

Chapter 4: Of the Present Ability of America, with Some Miscellaneous Reflections

Paine discusses the military and economic capabilities of America, refuting the notion that the colonies are too weak to stand alone. He instills confidence in the ability of the American people to govern themselves.

Chapter 5: Of the Present Ability of America, with Some Miscellaneous Reflections

In this chapter, Paine delves into the potential structure of an independent American government, advocating for a democratic system that is representative of the will of the people. He outlines the principles of a just and equitable government.

Main Events

  • Publication of "Common Sense" and its widespread dissemination.
  • The pamphlet's impact on public opinion and the revolutionary sentiment in the American colonies.
  • The subsequent movement towards declaring independence, culminating in the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Themes and Insights


Independence and Self-Governance

The central theme of "Common Sense" revolves around the idea of independence from oppressive rule and the establishment of a government that derives its authority from the consent of the governed.

Democratic Principles

Paine advocates for democratic principles such as representation, equality, and justice, emphasizing the importance of a government that serves the interests of the people.


Paine's insights into the flaws of monarchy and the benefits of self-governance provided a compelling intellectual foundation for the American Revolution. His arguments resonated with the public and contributed to a paradigm shift in the perception of British rule.

Reader's Takeaway

"Common Sense" offers readers a profound understanding of the ideological underpinnings of the American Revolution and the principles that shaped the founding of the United States. It serves as a timeless reminder of the power of rational discourse and the pursuit of liberty.


"Common Sense" stands as a testament to the enduring impact of persuasive writing and the ability of ideas to ignite social and political change. Thomas Paine's passionate advocacy for American independence continues to inspire readers and serves as a foundational text in the history of democracy and self-governance.

Common Sense FAQ

  1. Who is the author of Common Sense?

    Common Sense was written by Thomas Paine, a political activist and philosopher.

  2. What is the main theme of Common Sense?

    The main theme of Common Sense is advocating for American independence from British rule and promoting the idea of republicanism.

  3. When was Common Sense first published?

    Common Sense was first published in 1776, during the American Revolution.

  4. What impact did Common Sense have on American history?

    Common Sense played a significant role in swaying public opinion towards independence and influenced the writing of the Declaration of Independence.

  5. Is Common Sense still relevant today?

    Many of the political and philosophical arguments presented in Common Sense are still debated and relevant today, especially in discussions about democracy and government.