Sometimes a private citizen — someone who has never run for office but has a vision and a political idea, someone who is both stubborn and insightful — can change the course of political history.
Thomas Paine is an example of one such person. His words and ideas literally helped change the course of U.S. history. In 1776, his first two of four pamphlets, "Common Sense" and "The Crisis" — the latter beginning with the famous opening line, "These are the times that try men's souls" — have been credited with mobilizing public opinion to help motivate American colonists to fight the British in what was deemed to be an unwinnable war. They reportedly were read by a greater percentage of the population of the American colonies than the percentage that watches the Super Bowl today.