Thomas Paine - Common Sense




When the colonies decided to break free from Britain, many people were forced to chose sides. While loyalist wanted to stay loyal to the crown, a new group of people called the patriots decided it was time to form their own country separate from the current monarchy that was in power. 

Each side attempted to persuade one another to join, or not join, the fight. Pamphlets and newspapers were both common ways to get both positive and negative ideas about revolution across the colonies. This webquest will highlight Thomas Paine's pamphlet Common Sense. Paine's work  became the most wide read publishing of its time and help gather support for the patriots who were ready for a change. 



During the American Revolution, many people wrote articles to sway others to join their side. Thomas Paine was no exception. You are going to learn more about how Thomas Paine helped gather support for the Patriots during the American Revolution. After, you will write your own persuasive article convincing people to either join the Loyalists or Patriots. 


Step 1: Read Thomas Paine's Common Sense.  ( A link to Common Sense is provided in the ¨Process¨ section.)

Step 2: Choose one paragraph from Common Sense and summarize it in at least 5 sentences.  Include how the paragraph you chose would have affected a soldier at the time.




Step 1: Get to know Thomas Paine and Common Sense


Background information and summaries:



Video information:


Step 2: Pick one paragraph of “Common Sense” and write a summary of at least 5 sentences. This summary will include the main idea of the paragraph and any supporting details provided by Thomas Paine.  It should also include how this may have affected a soldier at the time.

Actual Document:





Evaluation Rubric
  Exemplary 5 Very Good 4 Developing 2 Beginning 1 Score
Ideas & Voice (5 points) The essay is informative with a clear focus and specific details The voice sounds knowledgeable and confident. The essay is informative with a clear focus. More specific details are needed. The voice sounds well-informed most of the time. The focus of the essay needs to be clearer, and more specific details are needed. The voice sometimes sounds unsure. The topic needs to be narrowed or expanded. Many more specific details are needed. The voice sounds unsure.  
Organization (5 points) The beginning is interesting. The middle supports the focus. The ending works well. Transitions are used. The essay is divided into a beginning, a middle, and an ending. Some transitions are used. The beginning or ending is weak. The middle needs a paragraph for each main point. More transitions are needed. The beginning, middle, and ending all run together. Paragraphs and transitions are needed.  

Expository Ideas

(5 points)

The essay has a few minor errors in punctuation, spelling, or grammar. Includes 3 or more pieces of evidence. The essay has few errors in punctuation, spelling, or grammar. Includes 3 or more pieces of evidence. Some errors cause confusion. Includes 2 pieces of evidence. Many errors make the essay confusing and hard to read. Includes 1 or fewer pieces of evidence.  
Total Score: Total of 15 pts.


Congratulations you have learned how powerful words can be- especially during war time!


After completing the research and the tasks of this webquest, you should have learned how correct and masterful use of the English language helped the colonists achieve victory. Thomas Paine and many other colonists used their words and power of pursuasion to help gain a victory for the Patriots. 


Zunal Webquest maker

All Webpages provided in the process