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: 'Common Sense,' written by Thomas Paine, was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, during the American Revolution. 'Common Sense,' signed 'Written by an Englishman', became an immediate success. In relation to the population of the Colonies at that time, it had the largest sale and circulation of any book in American history. 'Common Sense' presented the American colonists with a powerful argument for independence from British rule at a time when the question of independence was still undecided. The 'Declaration of Independence,' written by Thomas Jefferson, is a statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states, and thus no longer a part of the British Empire. The 'Declaration of Independence' gives a formal explanation of why Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America-Independence Day-is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the 'Declaration of Independence' was approved by Congress.