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The American Experiment: Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and Call for Independence

Why did Thomas Paine truly think that independence from Great Britain was “common sense”? In this episode of Primary Source Close Reads Explained, Kirk dissects Paine’s “Common Sense” pamphlet published in January 1776. At this point, declaring independence was not a foregone conclusion, and Paine’s pamphlet argued that persistent connection to the nation provided no advantage to the American people. How does Paine’s argument differ from others who wrote in opposition to Great Britain at the time? What reasons does he highlight as imperative for severing ties with the nation?

How can words, written and spoken, change history? “Primary Source Close Reading: Explained,” dives even deeper into some of the most pivotal pieces that shaped the America we know today. Join BRI’s Director of Content, Kirk Higgins, as he takes a detailed look at the language contained in the most formative documents, speeches, and court cases throughout the history of the United States. Learn the true meaning and story behind the writing that fashioned the country in a way you can easily digest!