By January 1776, the American colonies were in open rebellion against Britain. Yet few dared voice what most knew was true — they were no longer fighting for their rights as British subjects. They weren't fighting for self-defense, or protection of their property, or to force Britain to the negotiating table. They were fighting for independence. Not a dumbed-down rant for the masses, as often described, Common Sense is a masterful piece of argument and rhetoric that proved the power of words.