UNHANDLED ERROR on line 88 in /var/www/incl/mhs_db_conn.php. Error: "mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead" (error #8192). Client IP:

Coming of the American Revolution: Document Viewer
Massachusetts Historical Society
America's oldest historical society, founded 1791.

Back to The Second Continental Congress

Letter from John Adams to William Tudor, 12 April 1776

Letter from John Adams to William Tudor, 12 April 1776

Page Viewing Options NOTE

overview | small | large | transcription HELP
"simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense"
Common Sense is published in Philadelphia in January 1776, launching a sensational public debate on American independence. Published anonymously, everyone from John Adams to Benjamin Franklin is named as the author. No matter the scribe, colonists eagerly devour the pamphlet's exposition on King George III and Parliament and their role in colonial dissent. Actually written by Englishman Thomas Paine, the treatise does not present any new or innovative political ideas, but explains the principal attitudes towards the King and independence in simple, everyday language. Within weeks, printers from Boston to Charleston are selling their own editions to an eager public. They sell an amazing 100,000 copies of the pamphlet in just a few months! As the colonies debate Paine's spirited prose, Adams himself comments on the document and his supposed authorship in letters to friends and family.

Questions to Consider

1. What is John Adams' opinion of Common Sense? Use words or phrases from the document to support your answer.

Further Exploration

2. John Adams writes this letter in April 1776. Why is he asking about the condition of the town of Boston? What has taken place there in recent months?