On January 10, 1776, Thomas Paine’s famous pamphlet, Common Sense, was published.  It was highly critical of the system of monarchy and argued for American independence from England. This 48-page pamphlet was read all over America and even in England and France.  More copies were sold than any other book in America up until that time.  George Washington ordered it be read to his troops that were encamped in Massachusetts.

When Paine wrote Common Sense, he used language the common people in America could easily understand.  This was in contrast to many other authors of that time, who used language more oriented to those in the upper class.  Even many illiterate people in America heard the words of Common Sense, which energized almost all of the patriots.  A Loyalist pamphlet entitled Plain Truth, an attempt at a persuasive rebuttal of Paine’s pamphlet, was largely a failure.  However, the Loyalists did have British military victories to rally people to their side for a while.