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Serialized Story Guide for Teachers, Students and Families

By Antonette Bomentre-Walter and Chris Yatchyshyn

Chapter 1 - Common Sense Arrives


strolled - verb; walking in a leisurely or idle manner

pamphlet - noun; an unbound printed publication with no cover or with a paper cover

enlightening - adjective; giving spiritual insight to

gesturing - verb: expressing or directing by a movement of the body or limbs that expresses or emphasizes an idea or an attitude

revelation - noun;an act of revealing to view or making known

anonymous - adjective; not named or identified

Recalling the Facts

1. During what year does the story begin?

2. In what city does the story begin?

3. The colonists were under which country's rule?

4. What is the name of the pamphlet the men were talking about?

5. How did the author of the pamphlet sign his name?

6. Who was the well-known journalist and publisher who owned a small press?

7. How many colonies were there at this time?

8. How many copies of the pamphlet were printed, sold, borrowed or traded?

Comprehension Questions

1. Why was everyone excited as they walked down the streets of Philadelphia?

2. Who did Walter say he was going to give his copy of Common Sense to after he was finished reading it? Where did Walter get his copy of the book and who sold it to him? Why were they all reading the same copy?

3. Who else received credit to for being the author and why?

In the News

Common Sense became the same as a "modern-day best seller" of its day. Look through the newspaper for book reviews and advertisements. What are some of today's best sellers? Find your local newspaper: Link to the directory of New Jersey newspapers OR Link to the directory of Pennsylvania newspapers.

Take It to the Real World

The author was actually a new immigrant, an Englishmen, who had arrived in Philadelphia on November 30, 1774. Immigration is still an issue that is very much alive and in the news. Look for any reference to immigrants and/or immigration in today's paper. Photos, comics, editorials, classified ads, etc. can also help. Be sure to check it all out in today's newspaper! Find your local newspaper: Link to the directory of New Jersey newspapers OR Link to the directory of Pennsylvania newspapers.

Make a Prediction

What was life like for immigrants during this period of time? How do you think you would have felt if you were the immigrant arriving in Philadelphia in November, 1774?

Essay Questions

  1. Thomas Paine's pamphlet was titled Common Sense, and it made the argument for the American colonies to declare independence from England. What were some reasons for American independence? Were these reasons "common sense" to the colonists? Why did Paine give his pamphlet the name Common Sense?
  2. Common Sense was widely read throughout the colonies and the author mentioned that John Eshleman and Horace Bancroft were laborers. Common Sense became so popular in the colonies that almost everyone who could read saw a copy. What about the American Revolution appealed to the average person?

Answers to Comprehensive Questions and Recalling the Facts

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