The following interpretive essays offer context about topics pertaining to the British edition of  Common Sense in our collection. Follow the links below to read the essays. Links within each essay direct the reader to relevant material in the original source and its annotations.

Interpretive Essays and Exhibits (6 total)

“To Begin the World Over Again”: Common Sense and the English Radical Tradition

by Anthony DiLorenzo

Anthony DiLorenzo, professor at Savannah State University explains how Thomas Paine's Common Sense was rooted in a radical transatlantic network that had its roots in the English Revolution, which combined religious and political ideas.

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Common Sense Around the World

by Marie Pellissier

Common Sense traveled quickly for its time, and is still in print today. This interactive map explores the spread of Common Sense across the world during the first fifty years of its publication history.  View fullscreen map.


What Else Did John Almon Print?

by Kelly Schmidt

In addition to Common Sense, British publisher J. Almon printed many other treatises, including some he himself authored under a pseudonym. What did he publish? Why did he produce his own work under another name? This exploratory timeline traces Almon's publications to help us understand more about his identity and political motives.

Please note that this exhibit is a demo and is still under development.


Who was J. Almon?

by Kelly Schmidt

Who was "J. Almon, opposite Burlington-House, Piccadilly," the London printer who published the first British edition of Common Sense? What motivated him to publish this incendiary tract? What else did he publish? Find out more in this essay.

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Thomas Paine

by Marie Pellissier

Thomas Paine, the mind behind Common Sense, was an active participant in the great European intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment. Learn more about Paine's childhood, intellectual development and other writings. 

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Holes in the Cloth: What Got Left Out of the British Edition of Common Sense?

by Marie Pellissier

The first British edition of Common Sense has over twenty changes to the text, including censored portions and additions. Why did J. Almon, the British printer, make these changes, and what did he remove?

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