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: Thomas Paine (February 9, 1737 â June 8, 1809) was an author, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Common Sense was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, during the America 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 an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of independence was still undecided. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood; forgoing the philosophy and Latin references used by Enlightenment era writers, Paine structured Common Sense like a sermon and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people.