SAT Subject US History Practice Question 1025: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 1025

4. Thomas Paine's pamphlet, Common Sense, was significant because it

A. outlined the reasons for the ratification of the Constitution.
B. outlined the reasons colonial independence from Great Britain was a logical step for the colonies to take.
C. was rejected by the colonists as a piece of propaganda.
D. stated a belief in democracy.
E. was written by a high-ranking British official who supported colonial independence.

Correct Answer: B


Thomas Paine's Common Sense highlighted the arguments that made colonial independence the "commonsense" thing to do. Its purpose was to convince the colonists of the correctness of seeking independence from Britain. The writings that outlined reasons for the ratification of the Constitution were The Federalist Papers, written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Far from being considered propaganda, Common Sense was embraced by colonists and was one of American history's bestselling books, taking into account the number printed and the colonial population. Though it implicitly stated a belief in democracy, Common Sense's main purpose was to justify independence. Paine was born in England and emigrated to America in 1774, but he was an impoverished, self-educated person, not a high-ranking British official.

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