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About the book
  • Published: 24 October 2012
  • ISBN: 9780143122005
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: $18.99

Common Sense: Civic Classics Book 2


Formats & editions


Paine's incendiary pamphlet against British rule converted millions of Americans to the cause of independence when it was first published anonymously in 1776, and it remains as trenchant and powerful a call for freedom, equality, and progress today.
Penguin Books Civic Classics
The Declaration of Independence and The United States Constitution Common Sense/Thomas Paine The Federalist Papers Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay Lincoln Speeches/Abraham Lincoln American Political Speeches Supreme Court Decisions Penguin presents great essential texts of American civic life in a portable and accessible series for the politically engaged. Richard Beeman and leading experts introduce the founding documents, pivotal historic speeches, important Supreme Court decision, and historic writings, both revolutionary and inspiring, that express core principles and ideals, raise issues, and tell a story about the American experiment in self-government.
These are the words, ideas, and actions that have shaped American society and government since their founding and that continue to matter and empower. By mapping out our constitutional history, Civic Classics help us navigate through our present challenges, a journey better enjoyed as a participant rather than a bystander.

  • Pub date: 24 October 2012
  • ISBN: 9780143122005
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: $18.99

About the Authors

Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, England, in 1737, the son of a staymaker. He had little schooling and worked at a number of jobs, including tax collector, a position he lost for agitating for an increase in excisemen's pay. Persuaded by Benjamin Franklin, he emigrated to America in 1774. In 1776 he began his American Crisis series of thirteen pamphlets, and also published the incalculably influential Common Sense, which established Paine not only as a truly revolutionary thinker, but as the American Revolution's fiercest political theorist. In 1787 Paine returned to Europe, where he became involved in revolutionary politics.

In England his books were burned by the public hangman. Escaping to France, Paine took part in drafting the French constitution and voted against the king's execution. He was imprisoned for a year and narrowly missed execution himself. In 1802 he returned to America and lived in New York State, poor, ill and largely despised for his extremism and so-called atheism (he was in fact a deist). Thomas Paine died in 1809. His body was exhumed by William Cobbett, and the remains were taken to England for a memorial burial. Unfortunately, the remains were subsequently lost.


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