It's 200 years since the British-born "father of the American revolution" died. His words also helped shape modern Britain and France and yet few people know much about him at all. "Possibly the most influential writer in modern human history" … In January 1776 he published a short pamphlet that earned him the title The Father of the American Revolution. Titled simply, Common Sense, the work has been described by the Pulitzer-winning historian Gordon S Wood as "the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire [American] revolutionary period". It put the case for democracy, against the monarchy, and for American independence from British rule. It became a sensation, selling 120,000 copies in the first three months.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8089115.stm