Title page of the third edition of Thomas Paine's book 'Common sense', which was 'addressed to the inhabitants of America'.
Thomas Paine (1737-1809) emigrated from Britain to America in November 1774. Within months, he was working on 'Common sense', the book that helped turn a rebellion into a war for independence.
Challenging the authority of the British monarchy, Paine promoted republicanism as the sole rational means of government.
Written in prose accessible to the masses, 'Common sense' became a ground-breaking, political bestseller.
Robert Bell, the printer, had learned his trade in Glasgow and Berwick-upon-Tweed before emigrating to America.
He and Paine argued over the profits from the first edition.
This edition was printed in 1776 by Bell without Paine's permission.
[NLS reference: H.S.564]
This item featured in our display about American independence, which ran from 4 July to 16 September 2012.