Prior to the Declaration of Independence of the 13 colonies of North America, there was another influential document written by Thomas Paine in January 1776. This document was a 47 page pamphlet called Common Sense and had a huge success, because it explained in an easily understandable language some of the political ideas spread by the enlightened philosophers and used those ideas to support the demand for independence many North American colonists agreed upon. Common Sense talked about the social contract between the people and the government, the need for a representative government (elected as a result of general will), criticized monarchy and considered Parliamentary Monarchy a contradiction due to its origin (limiting the powers of the king, but preserving an institution based on inequality) and proposed to write a document (he called it "charter") to include the rights of the citizens (freedom, property and religious tolerance). Paine also gave different arguments to justify the independence from Great Britain. Paine´s pamphlet had an important distribution in the colonies and contributed to increase the desire for independence. When the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in June 1776, the environment to break ties with Great Britain was much more favorable.
Here you have a short summary of the pamphlet:
And this is the complete text: