ON THIS DAY in 49 B.C., Julius Caesar spoke the famous words Alea jacta est, meaning “The die is cast.” Seconds later, his generals insisted that he cross the river Rubicon, and the game of Monopoly he had been playing with the ferryman was never finished.

On this day in 1776, Thomas Paine’s tract Common Sense was published, marking the first and last appearance of common sense in American politics.

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