John Adams said of Paine:
History is to ascribe the American Revolution to Thomas Paine.
Why such a tribute? Congress said it best:
Resolved, That the early, unsolicited and continued labors of Mr. Thomas Paine, in explaining and enforcing the principles of the late Revolution, by the ingenious and timely publications upon the nature of liberty and civil government, have been well received by the citizens of these States, and merit the approbation of Congress; and the benefits produced thereby, Mr. Paine is entitled to a liberal gratification from the United States.
One of those "timely publications" was Common Sense. This is what Paine said about it:
I saw, or at least thought I saw, a vast scene opening itself to the world in the affairs of America; and it appeared to me that unless the Americans changed the plan they were then pursuing with respect to the government of England, and declare themselves independent, they would not only involve themselves in a mulitplicity of new difficulties, but shut out the prospect that was then offering itself to mankind through their means. It was from these motives that I published Common Sense, which is the first work I ever did publish; and so far as I can judge of myself, I believe I never should have been known in the world as an author on any subject whatsoever had it not been for the affairs of America.
It is beleived that Thomas Paine drafted our Declaration of Independence.