About This Location

Thomas Paine was a political theorist, agitator, and revolutionary. A 1774 arrival from England with a letter of introduction from Benjamin Franklin, he soon settled down in Philadelphia as editor of Robert Aitken’s Pennsylvania Magazine. By January 1776, Paine’s Common Sense was off the press of Robert Bell, whose office stood on this site. Its publication was a watershed of the American Revolution. Most colonists at the time were wavering about the idea of independence. Paine’s 47-page sermon-like pamphlet used biblical argument from I Samuel 8 to argue against monarchy and for republican government. His piece galvanized support for independence and is arguably the most influential publication of the American Revolution.

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