In the pamphlet's fourth chapter “Of the Present Ability of America, with Some Miscellaneous Reflections” Paine wrote that the US had no debt. However, "Common Sense" was published in 1776, by which time the American Revolutionary War was going on. Was this debt-free situation then really the case? Although the USA funded themselves with selling ships and other natural resources like tar and timber, the Continental Congress often could not collect taxes from the states and war, in itself, is quite costly, hence my confusion.

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    This question would benefit from preliminary research. – Mark C. Wallace Feb 13 '19 at 14:32
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    @MarkC.Wallace Yes, it's the third question on Paine's 'Common Sense' in a couple of days, and all would have benefited from preliminary research. – sempaiscuba Feb 13 '19 at 14:50
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    And Paine was better at rhetoric than research or economics. The answer is clearly "no", and what I have read indicates the post revolution recession was close to the Great Depression. But I am not inclined to revisit that research for a question that does no preliminary work. – Mark C. Wallace Feb 13 '19 at 14:52
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    @MarkC.Wallace - Just did a bit of research on my own on this, and its actually not that simple to get an answer for 1776, and a surprisingly interesting story getting there. (Not to mention the definitional problems. Do state debts count, or just Congress'?) – T.E.D. Feb 13 '19 at 15:25

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