Thomas Paine arrived in America from England in 1774. A friend of Ben Franklin, he was a writer of poetry and tracts condemning the slave trade. In 1775, as hostilities between Britain and the colonies intensified, Paine wrote "Common Sense" to encourage the colonies to break the British exploitative hold through independence. The little booklet of 50 pages was published January 10, 1776 and sold a half-million copies, approximately equal to 75 million copies today.
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