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Uncommon Sense: Todd Thyberg’s American Manifesto

Written by in Features

Author-Designer Todd Thyberg’s American Manifesto

Inspired by Thomas Paine’s Common Sense 

Calls for Common Sense and Greater Wisdom To Address National Challenges

The election is over. Time to govern. Again. With a grant from Minnesota State Arts Board, Minneapolis author, artist, designer and printer Todd Thyberg wrote, design and printed a 12-page pamphlet inspired by Thomas Paine’s history-changing pamphlet Common Sense, a political tract written in 1776 in plain English that inspired hundreds of thousands of American colonists to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain.

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Says Thyberg, “The aim of American Manifesto is to incite informed dialogue and critical thinking with an approachable, frank look at broad-ranging issues we face today.   One printer and his press helped spark the American Revolution; my hope is that my manifesto will inspire common sense to face the growing challenges we face. I believe the future of our democracy depends on it.”

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The first issue of Common Sense was published anonymously in January 1776 and became a sensation. It was bought and read at town gatherings, tavern halls and state legislatures across the colonies. George Washington is said to have read the pamphlet to his dispirited army under siege in Boston by the British Army and Navy. Paine’s wise, prescient and practical advice on such matters as the separation of powers, the formation of a representative government became the founding principles of the First Continental Congress and, later, the U.S. Constitution.

Historians believe the pamphlet was read or heard by more than 80% of the 2.5 million living in the 13 original colonies, a level of “penetration” by a political publication that remains unprecedented.  Paine donated all profits from the sale of his pamphlet to the Continental Army led by George Washington and, later, gave up all copyrights, allowing any printer, anywhere to print and distribute the book.

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Thyberg’s Manifesto has more humble audience goals but his hopes for more rationale, responsive and wise governance through honest and rationale dialog are of no less importance. His manifesto offers honest, sometimes humorous, and often painful views on such issues as national hubris, the income gap, national debt, rampant consumption, sustainability, privacy, security, and other issues of national concern.

Thyberg uses his skills as a writer, thinker, designer and printer to create a tangible, enduring demonstration of the power of the written word and free press.  He is the owner of Angel Bomb, a Minneapolis-based graphic design and letterpress studio formed in 1997. When not working for clients, he makes limited edition art prints, greeting cards and beer under his own label (move over, Sam Adams). For more information about the book and the process please visit, www.AngelBomb.com.

Production Notes

The 12-page American Manifesto was printed on 100% cotton CRANE’S LETTRA® Cover PEARL WHITE 100C; Saddle Stitch bound in CORDENONS SO…WOOL Cover RED TARTAN 130C . Typefaces used were Solano, Gotham, and Kaine. This 3-color book was printed on a Heidelberg 10×15 Windmill letterpress at Angel Bomb in Minneapolis, MN.

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