What Is the Most Influential Book in American History?

When it comes to American history, there are countless books that have had a significant impact on the nation’s culture, values, and political beliefs. However, one book stands out as the most influential book in American history – “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine.

Published in 1776, “Common Sense” is a pamphlet that argued for the American colonies’ independence from Great Britain. Paine’s persuasive writing style and powerful arguments mobilized tens of thousands of Americans to support the Revolution and paved the way for the Declaration of Independence.

One of the reasons why “Common Sense” is so influential is because it resonated with ordinary Americans who were struggling with economic hardships and political repression. Paine’s clear and straightforward language made complex ideas accessible to everyone. He argued that monarchy was inherently corrupt and that Americans should not be subject to a king who did not represent their interests.

The Power of Persuasion
Paine’s ability to persuade readers was due in large part to his use of rhetorical techniques such as repetition, rhetorical questions, and emotional appeals. For example, he asked his readers: “Can any reasonable man be well disposed towards a government which makes war and carnage the only means of supporting itself?” This question prompted readers to consider their own values and moral beliefs.

Inspiring Change
“Common Sense” inspired change not only in America but also in other countries around the world. It became an essential text for revolutionaries seeking independence from colonial powers, including Simon Bolivar in South America and Mahatma Gandhi in India.

The Legacy Of Common Sense

The legacy of “Common Sense” can still be felt today. Its emphasis on individual liberty, democracy, and social justice influenced many subsequent political movements such as abolitionism, women’s suffrage, civil rights movements, and LGBTQ+ rights activism.

Moreover, “Common Sense” set a precedent for political pamphleteering as a powerful tool for challenging the status quo. It established the idea that individuals could use their writing skills to effect change and mobilize communities.


In conclusion, “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine is undoubtedly the most influential book in American history. Its persuasive language, rhetorical techniques, and powerful arguments made it an essential text for those seeking political change. Its legacy continues to inspire generations of Americans to fight for their rights and freedoms.