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Paine was political pamphleteer, originally from England. His book "Common Sense" was an argument for American Independence - and became one of the most popular books in American history, mainly because Americans thought it was a book about common sense, and on some level knew they needed it.
At the time, most of the literature about independence was written by lawyers and politicians - in the kind of self-important florid language that can only be understood by college graduates or written by me. However, "Common Sense" lived up to its title - it was written in straightforward language, so basically anyone could understand its arguments (even people who couldn't read - the book was so popular there were numerous public readings of the text, making it an early audiobook, in many ways.)
While the book wasn't what convinced Congress of the value of independence (they already knew), it did cause a groundswell of popular support, and that was important because Congress needed the public on their side - and they needed to convince soldiers to fight for them. Common Sense did both.
I don't have any record of Connor actually meeting Paine, but I thought you'd like to know about him as his words played such a crucial role in the revolution. Yes, I put this at the end so you'd read the whole thing before finding that out, I can be a bastard that way.