On January 10, 1776, while the Second Continental Congress was deliberating on the future of the "united colonies," a 46-page pamphlet was put out for sale. Simply titled Common Sense, it became a publishing phenomenon, a best-seller in its time. The first printing sold out in two weeks and over 150,000 copies were sold throughout America and Europe. Written by Thomas Paine, an unknown Englishman who had emigrated only fifteen months earlier, it burst upon the scene like a meteor—a "disastrous meteor," wrote John Adams, who felt Paine's inflammatory call for independence would undermine the deliberative work of the Continental Congress. While Paine's basic message—abandon the goal of reconciliation and declare independence—was not new, he went much further. Reject British heritage, condemn monarchy, embrace democracy, enlighten the world. This doesn't sound very revolutionary to us, but it was. "We have it in our power," insisted Paine, "to begin the world all over again."