On This Day, March 10, 1776 – Thomas Paine Offers the Colonies a Bit of ‘Common Sense’
1776 – “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine was published.
Common Sense was a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 that inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. The pamphlet explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence in clear, simple language.
It was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution and became an immediate sensation. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places.
Washington had it read to all his troops, which at the time had surrounded the British army in Boston. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history. As of 2006, it remains the all-time best selling American title.
Common Sense presented the American colonists with an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of whether or not to seek independence was the central issue of the day. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood. Foregoing the philosophical and Latin references used by Enlightenment era writers, he structured Common Sense as if it were a sermon, and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people.
He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity. Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era”.
1629 – England’s King Charles I dissolved Parliament and did not call it back for 11 years.
1656 – In the American colony of Virginia, suffrage was extended to all free men regardless of their religion.
1785 – Thomas Jefferson was appointed minister to France. He succeeded Benjamin Franklin.
1804 – The formal ceremonies transferring the Louisiana Purchase from France to the U.S. took place in St. Louis.
1814 – In France, Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by a combined Allied Army at the battle of Laon.
1849 – Abraham Lincoln applied for a patent for a device to lift vessels over shoals by means of inflated cylinders.
1864 – Ulysses S. Grant became commander of the Union armies.
1876 – Alexander Graham Bell made the first successful call with the telephone. He spoke the words “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”
1893 – New Mexico State University canceled its first graduation ceremony because the only graduate was robbed and killed the night before.
1927 – Prussia lifted its Nazi ban allowing Adolf Hitler to speak in public.
1945 – American B-29 bombers attacked Tokyo, Japan, 100,000 were killed.
1947 – The Big Four met in Moscow to discuss the future of Germany.
1965 – Walter Matthau and Art Carney opened in “The Odd Couple“. It later became a hit on television.
1966 – France withdrew from NATO’s military command to protest U.S. dominance of the alliance and asked NATO to move its headquarters from Paris.
1969 – James Earl Ray pled guilty in Memphis, TN, to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Ray later repudiated the guilty plea and maintained his innocence until his death in April of 1998.
1971 – The U.S. Senate approved an amendment to lower the voting age to 18.
1980 – Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, lent his support to the militants holding American hostages in Tehran.
1998 – U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf began receiving the first vaccinations against anthrax.
Source: On-This-Day.com; Wikipedia.org