Common Sense (magazine)

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Common Sense was a political magazine named after the pamphlet by Thomas Paine and published in the United States between 1932 and 1946.[citation needed]

Positioned to the left of liberalism but critical of Communism, with its contributors often being democratic socialists of one kind or another, Common Sense was founded in 1932[citation needed] by Yale graduates Selden Rodman and Alfred Bingham, son of U.S. Senator for Connecticut Hiram Bingham III.[1] Politically the magazine tended to support progressive, left-of-center, independent political action in farmer-labor parties.

The magazine attracted a broad range of contributors, largely but not exclusively from the independent left, including Roger N. Baldwin, Carleton Beals, V. F. Calverton, John Chamberlain, Stuart Chase, Miriam Allen DeFord, Lawrence Dennis, John Dewey, John Dos Passos, Theodore Dreiser, John T. Flynn, J. B. S. Hardman, Morris Hillquit, Sidney Hook, Jay Lovestone, H. L. Mencken, Dwight Macdonald, Lewis Mumford, A. J. Muste, James Rorty, Howard Scott, Upton Sinclair, Mary Heaton Vorse, Mary McCarthy, Charles W. Yost, Stephen Spender and Edmund Wilson.

In his book The Politics of Upheaval, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. stated that during the early New Deal years of the Great Depression Common Sense became "the most lively and interesting forum of radical discussion in the country." [2]


Major General Smedley Butler of the United States Marine Corps, in one of his most widely quoted statements, declared in a 1935 issue of the magazine:

"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."[3]

also published as the booklet War Is a Racket.[4]


  1. ^ Dilling Stokes, Elizabeth (June 1935). The Red network. Ayer Co Publishing. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-405-09946-5. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Butler, Smedley D. (November 1935). "America's Armed Forces. 2. "In Time of Peace": The Army" (PDF). Common Sense 4 (11): 8–12. 
  4. ^ Butler, Common Sense, 1935.