What effects did Common Sense by Thomas Paine have on the Americans?

By the 1st of January, 1776, Washington had, by extraordinary exertions, got together a new Continental army in front of Boston,--an army of less than ten thousand men, ill appointed, and not well disciplined. . With the new year an emblematical banner was unfurled over the troops. It displayed thirteen alternate red and white stripes (indicative of the thirteen united colonies), and in the corner the red and white crosses of St. George and St. Andrew on a blue ground. The desire for complete independence was expressed with a more undisguised frankness, and Washington openly declared his opinion that it was a necessity of the time.

This feeling was strongly aided by Thomas Paine's treatise, named "Common Sense" by Dr. Rush of Philadelphia, and expressing in clear and forcible statement the most radical democratic opinions.

However disputable some of Paine's arguments may have been, they were admirably calculated to produce a powerful effect in America, and to influence in the desired direction many who might still be inclined, from whatever cause, to hang back. Some, however, were a little alarmed at the boldness of the proposals, and Wilson, of Pennsylvania, moved in Congress for the appointment of a committee to explain to their constituents and to the world the present intentions of the colonial representatives respecting independence. In opposition to this suggestion, Samuel Adams insisted that Congress had already been explicit enough; but Wilson carried his motion. . Congress was timid about taking so extreme a step as a declaration of independence, but was none the less advancing cautiously towards that end. . The state of war was perfect; independence was all but complete. The United Colonies wanted but little to convert them into the United States.

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