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This Day In Founding Fathers History – 10 January 2013

On this day in 1776, Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense was published, although anonymously at the time. It challenged the authority of the British government in language the common man could understand. It “advocated an immediate declaration of independence, postulating a special moral obligation of America to the rest of the world,” inspiring colonists to declare and fight for their independence and organize under a constitution. The pamphlet was republished several times and disseminated across the colonies, making Paine a household name. 1

One notable birthday on this day in history in 1744, that of Thomas Mifflin of Pennsylvania. Mifflin was a businessman turned politician. His first foray was as city warden before going on to serve four consecutive terms in the legislature. A trip to New England allowed him the opportunity to meet Patriot leaders, including Samuel Adams who spurred his desire to fight for independence and help lead the charge locally, as well as serving on the Continental Congress. Mifflin, along with John Dickinson, helped create and lead Philadelphia’s military forces until joining the Continental Army upon its creation. Washington chose Mifflin to serve as one of his aides, appointed him Quartermaster General of the Continental Army, and he later achieved his top rank of major general. Upon his resignation from the military, Mifflin returned to politics, serving in the state legislature several times, as president of the Continental Congress, and governor of Pennsylvania. 2

1 “Thomas Paine’s Common Sense,”
2 “Thomas Mifflin,”


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