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Though it began as a series of letters to be published in various Philadelphia papers, it grew too long and unwieldy to publish as letters, leading Paine to select the pamphlet form.Benjamin Rush recommended the publisher Robert Bell, promising Paine that, where other printers might balk at the content of the pamphlet, Bell would not hesitate nor delay its printing.Common Sense sold almost 100,000 copies in 1776, and according to Paine, 120,000 copies were sold in the first three months.One biographer estimates that 500,000 copies sold in the first year (in both America and Europe – predominantly France and Britain), and another writes that Paine's pamphlet went through twenty-five published editions in the first year alone.Aside from the printed pamphlet itself, there were many handwritten summaries and whole copies circulated.
Their ideas of grievance operated without resentment, and their single object was reconciliation." Paine quickly engrained himself in the Philadelphia newspaper business, and began writing Common Sense in late 1775 under the working title of Plain Truth.
Ultimately, he lost money on the Bradford printing as well, and because he decided to repudiate his copyright, never did profit from Common Sense.
The first and subsequent editions divided the pamphlet into four sections.
He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity, structuring Common Sense as if it were a sermon.
Thomas Paine arrived in the American colonies in November 1774, shortly before the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
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He illustrated the power of society to create and maintain happiness in man through the example of a few isolated people that find it easier to live together rather than apart, creating society.