Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine

Overview
Thomas "Tom" Paine was an English author
Author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

, pamphleteer
Pamphleteer
A pamphleteer is a historical term for someone who creates or distributes pamphlets. Pamphlets were used to broadcast the writer's opinions on an issue, for example, in order to get people to vote for their favorite politician or to articulate a particular political ideology.A famous pamphleteer...

, radical
Radicalism (historical)
The term Radical was used during the late 18th century for proponents of the Radical Movement. It later became a general pejorative term for those favoring or seeking political reforms which include dramatic changes to the social order...

, inventor, intellectual
Intellectual
An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.- Terminology and endeavours :"Intellectual" can denote four types of persons:...

, revolutionary
Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

, and one of the Founding Fathers
Founding Fathers of the United States
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were political leaders and statesmen who participated in the American Revolution by signing the United States Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American Revolutionary War, establishing the United States Constitution, or by some...

 of the United States. He has been called "a corsetmaker
Corsetmaker
A corsetmaker is a specialist tailor who makes corsets. Corsetmakers are frequently known by the French equivalent terms corsetier and corsetière .Stay-maker is an obsolete name for a corsetmaker...

 by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination."

Born in Thetford
Thetford
Thetford is a market town and civil parish in the Breckland district of Norfolk, England. It is on the A11 road between Norwich and London, just south of Thetford Forest. The civil parish, covering an area of , has a population of 21,588.-History:...

, in the English county of Norfolk
Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

, Paine emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 in time to participate in the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

. His principal contributions were the powerful, widely read pamphlet Common Sense
Common Sense (pamphlet)
Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, during the American Revolution. Common Sense, signed "Written by an Englishman", became an immediate success. In relation to the population of the Colonies at that time, it had the largest...

(1776), the all-time best-selling American book that advocated colonial America's independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

, and The American Crisis
The American Crisis
The American Crisis was a series of pamphlets published from 1776 to 1783 during the American Revolution by 18th century Enlightenment philosopher and author Thomas Paine. The first volume begins with the famous words "These are the times that try men's souls". There were sixteen pamphlets in total...

(1776–1783), a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series.
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Quotations

I speak an open and disinterested language, dictated by no passion but that of humanity. To me, who have not only refused offers, because I thought them improper, but have declined rewards I might with reputation have accepted, it is no wonder that meanness and imposition appear disgustful. Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good..

The Rights of Man (1791)

Man is not the enemy of man but through the medium of a false system of government.

The Rights of Man (1791)

Time makes more converts than reason. (the Introduction)

Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first a patron, the last a punisher. (Opening Line)

Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour; a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.

Who the Author of this Production is, is wholly unnecessary to the Public, as the Object for Attention is the DOCTRINE ITSELF, not the MAN. Yet it may not be unnecessary to say, That he is unconnected with any Party, and under no sort of Influence public or private, but the influence of reason and principle.

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.

Encyclopedia
Thomas "Tom" Paine was an English author
Author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

, pamphleteer
Pamphleteer
A pamphleteer is a historical term for someone who creates or distributes pamphlets. Pamphlets were used to broadcast the writer's opinions on an issue, for example, in order to get people to vote for their favorite politician or to articulate a particular political ideology.A famous pamphleteer...

, radical
Radicalism (historical)
The term Radical was used during the late 18th century for proponents of the Radical Movement. It later became a general pejorative term for those favoring or seeking political reforms which include dramatic changes to the social order...

, inventor, intellectual
Intellectual
An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.- Terminology and endeavours :"Intellectual" can denote four types of persons:...

, revolutionary
Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

, and one of the Founding Fathers
Founding Fathers of the United States
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were political leaders and statesmen who participated in the American Revolution by signing the United States Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American Revolutionary War, establishing the United States Constitution, or by some...

 of the United States. He has been called "a corsetmaker
Corsetmaker
A corsetmaker is a specialist tailor who makes corsets. Corsetmakers are frequently known by the French equivalent terms corsetier and corsetière .Stay-maker is an obsolete name for a corsetmaker...

 by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination."

Born in Thetford
Thetford
Thetford is a market town and civil parish in the Breckland district of Norfolk, England. It is on the A11 road between Norwich and London, just south of Thetford Forest. The civil parish, covering an area of , has a population of 21,588.-History:...

, in the English county of Norfolk
Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

, Paine emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 in time to participate in the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

. His principal contributions were the powerful, widely read pamphlet Common Sense
Common Sense (pamphlet)
Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, during the American Revolution. Common Sense, signed "Written by an Englishman", became an immediate success. In relation to the population of the Colonies at that time, it had the largest...

(1776), the all-time best-selling American book that advocated colonial America's independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

, and The American Crisis
The American Crisis
The American Crisis was a series of pamphlets published from 1776 to 1783 during the American Revolution by 18th century Enlightenment philosopher and author Thomas Paine. The first volume begins with the famous words "These are the times that try men's souls". There were sixteen pamphlets in total...

(1776–1783), a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series. "Common Sense" was so influential that John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

 said, "Without the pen of the author of 'Common Sense,' the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.”

Paine lived in France for most of the 1790s, becoming deeply involved in the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. He wrote the Rights of Man
Rights of Man
Rights of Man , a book by Thomas Paine, posits that popular political revolution is permissible when a government does not safeguard its people, their natural rights, and their national interests. Using these points as a base it defends the French Revolution against Edmund Burke's attack in...

(1791), in part a defense of the French Revolution against its critics. His attacks on British writer Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke PC was an Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher who, after moving to England, served for many years in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig party....

 led to a trial and conviction in absentia for the crime of seditious libel
Seditious libel
Seditious libel was a criminal offence under English common law. Sedition is the offence of speaking seditious words with seditious intent: if the statement is in writing or some other permanent form it is seditious libel...

. Despite not speaking French, he was elected to the French National Convention
National Convention
During the French Revolution, the National Convention or Convention, in France, comprised the constitutional and legislative assembly which sat from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795 . It held executive power in France during the first years of the French First Republic...

 in 1792. The Girondist
Girondist
The Girondists were a political faction in France within the Legislative Assembly and the National Convention during the French Revolution...

s regarded him as an ally, so, the Montagnards
The Mountain
The Mountain refers in the context of the history of the French Revolution to a political group, whose members, called Montagnards, sat on the highest benches in the Assembly...

, especially Robespierre
Maximilien Robespierre
Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre is one of the best-known and most influential figures of the French Revolution. He largely dominated the Committee of Public Safety and was instrumental in the period of the Revolution commonly known as the Reign of Terror, which ended with his...

, regarded him as an enemy. In December of 1793, he was arrested and imprisoned in Paris, then released in 1794. He became notorious because of The Age of Reason
The Age of Reason
The Age of Reason; Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology is a deistic pamphlet, written by eighteenth-century British radical and American revolutionary Thomas Paine, that criticizes institutionalized religion and challenges the legitimacy of the Bible, the central sacred text of...

(1793–94), his book that advocates deism
Deism
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

, promotes reason and freethinking
Freethought
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas...

, argues against institutionalized religion and Christian doctrines. He also wrote the pamphlet Agrarian Justice
Agrarian Justice
Agrarian Justice is the title of a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine, published in 1797, which advocated the use of an estate tax and a tax on land values to fund a universal old-age and disability pension, as well as a fixed sum to be paid to all citizens on reaching maturity...

(1795), discussing the origins of property
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

, and introduced the concept of a guaranteed minimum income
Guaranteed minimum income
Guaranteed minimum income is a system of social welfare provision that guarantees that all citizens or families have an income sufficient to live on, provided they meet certain conditions. Eligibility is typically determined by citizenship, a means test and either availability for the labour...

.

In 1802 he returned to America where he died on June 8, 1809. Only six people attended his funeral as he had been ostracized due to his ridicule of Christianity.

Early life



Paine was born the son of Joseph Pain, or Paine, a Quaker, and Frances (née Cocke), an Anglican, in Thetford
Thetford
Thetford is a market town and civil parish in the Breckland district of Norfolk, England. It is on the A11 road between Norwich and London, just south of Thetford Forest. The civil parish, covering an area of , has a population of 21,588.-History:...

, an important market town and coach stage-post, in rural Norfolk
Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

, England. Born Thomas Pain, despite claims that he changed his family name upon his emigration to America in 1774,
he was using Paine in 1769, whilst still in Lewes
Lewes
Lewes is the county town of East Sussex, England and historically of all of Sussex. It is a civil parish and is the centre of the Lewes local government district. The settlement has a history as a bridging point and as a market town, and today as a communications hub and tourist-oriented town...

, Sussex.

He attended Thetford Grammar School
Thetford Grammar School
Thetford Grammar School is an independent co-educational school in Thetford, Norfolk, England. The school traces its origins back to 631, and through its Roll of Headmasters to 1114, though it appears to have ceased from around 1496 until its refoundation from the will of Sir Richard Fulmerston in...

 (1744–1749), at a time when there was no compulsory education. At age thirteen, he was apprenticed to his stay-maker
Corsetmaker
A corsetmaker is a specialist tailor who makes corsets. Corsetmakers are frequently known by the French equivalent terms corsetier and corsetière .Stay-maker is an obsolete name for a corsetmaker...

 father; in late adolescence, he enlisted and briefly served as a privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

, before returning to Britain in 1759. There, he became a master stay-maker, establishing a shop in Sandwich, Kent
Sandwich, Kent
Sandwich is a historic town and civil parish on the River Stour in the Non-metropolitan district of Dover, within the ceremonial county of Kent, south-east England. It has a population of 6,800....

. On September 27, 1759, Thomas Paine married Mary Lambert. His business collapsed soon after. Mary became pregnant, and, after they moved to Margate
Margate
-Demography:As of the 2001 UK census, Margate had a population of 40,386.The ethnicity of the town was 97.1% white, 1.0% mixed race, 0.5% black, 0.8% Asian, 0.6% Chinese or other ethnicity....

, she went into early labor, in which she and their child died.

In July 1761, Paine returned to Thetford to work as a supernumerary
Supernumerary
A Supernumerary is an additional member of an organization. A supernumerary is also a non-regular member of a staff, a member of the staff or an employee who works in a public office who is not part of the manpower complement...

 officer. In December 1762, he became an excise officer
Her Majesty's Customs and Excise
HM Customs and Excise was, until April 2005, a department of the British Government in the UK. It was responsible for the collection of Value added tax , Customs Duties, Excise Duties, and other indirect taxes such as Air Passenger Duty, Climate Change Levy, Insurance Premium Tax, Landfill Tax and...

 in Grantham
Grantham
Grantham is a market town within the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England. It bestrides the East Coast Main Line railway , the historic A1 main north-south road, and the River Witham. Grantham is located approximately south of the city of Lincoln, and approximately east of Nottingham...

, Lincolnshire; in August 1764, he was transferred to Alford, at a salary of £50 per annum. On August 27, 1765, he was fired as an Excise Officer for "claiming to have inspected goods he did not inspect." On July 31, 1766, he requested his reinstatement from the Board of Excise, which they granted the next day, upon vacancy. While awaiting that, he worked as a stay maker in Diss, Norfolk, and later as a servant (per the records, for a Mr. Noble, of Goodman's Fields, and for a Mr. Gardiner, at Kensington). He also applied to become an ordained minister of the Church of England and, per some accounts, he preached in Moorfields.

In 1767, he was appointed to a position in Grampound
Grampound
Grampound is a village in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is situated on the A390 road six miles west of St Austell.Grampound with Creed is the civil parish of which the village of Grampound and the village of Creed are the main settlements...

, Cornwall; subsequently, he asked to leave this post to await a vacancy, thus, he became a schoolteacher in London. On February 19, 1768, he was appointed to Lewes
Lewes
Lewes is the county town of East Sussex, England and historically of all of Sussex. It is a civil parish and is the centre of the Lewes local government district. The settlement has a history as a bridging point and as a market town, and today as a communications hub and tourist-oriented town...

, East Sussex, living above the fifteenth-century Bull House, the tobacco shop of Samuel Ollive and Esther Ollive.

There, Paine first became involved in civic matters, he appears in the Town Book as a member of the Court Leet, the governing body for the Town. He also was in the influential vestry church group that collected taxes and tithes to distribute among the poor. On March 26, 1771, at age 34, he married Elizabeth Ollive, his landlord's daughter.
From 1772 to 1773, Paine joined excise officers asking Parliament for better pay and working conditions, publishing, in summer of 1772, The Case of the Officers of Excise, a twenty-one-page article, and his first political work, spending the London winter distributing the 4,000 copies printed to the Parliament and others. In spring of 1774, he was fired from the excise service for being absent from his post without permission; his tobacco shop failed, too. On April 14, to avoid debtor's prison, he sold his household possessions to pay debts. On June 4, he formally separated from wife Elizabeth and moved to London, where, in September, the mathematician, Fellow of the Royal Society, and Commissioner of the Excise George Lewis Scott introduced him to Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

, who suggested emigration to British colonial America, and gave him a letter of recommendation. In October, Thomas Paine emigrated from Great Britain to the American colonies, arriving in Philadelphia on November 30, 1774.

He barely survived the transatlantic voyage. The ship's water supplies were bad, and typhoid fever
Typhoid fever
Typhoid fever, also known as Typhoid, is a common worldwide bacterial disease, transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person, which contain the bacterium Salmonella enterica, serovar Typhi...

 killed five passengers. On arriving at Philadelphia, he was too sick to debark. Benjamin Franklin's physician, there to welcome Paine to America, had him carried off ship; Paine took six weeks to recover his health. He became a citizen of Pennsylvania "by taking the oath of allegiance at a very early period." In January, 1775, he became editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine, a position he conducted with considerable ability.

Paine designed the Sunderland Bridge of 1796 over the Wear River at Wearmouth, England. It was patterned after the model he had made for the Schuylkill River
Schuylkill River
The Schuylkill River is a river in Pennsylvania. It is a designated Pennsylvania Scenic River.The river is about long. Its watershed of about lies entirely within the state of Pennsylvania. The source of its eastern branch is in the Appalachian Mountains at Tuscarora Springs, near Tamaqua in...

 Bridge at Philadelphia in 1787, and the Sunderland arch became the prototype for many subsequent voussoir
Voussoir
A voussoir is a wedge-shaped element, typically a stone, used in building an arch or vault.Although each unit in an arch or vault is a voussoir, two units are of distinct functional importance: the keystone and the springer. The keystone is the center stone or masonry unit at the apex of an arch. A...

 arches made in iron and steel. He also received a British patent for a single-span iron bridge, developed a smokeless candle, and worked with inventor John Fitch
John Fitch (inventor)
John Fitch was an American inventor, clockmaker, and silversmith who, in 1787, built the first recorded steam-powered boat in the United States...

 in developing steam engines.

American Revolution



Common Sense (1776)



Thomas Paine has a claim to the title The Father of the American Revolution because of Common Sense
Common Sense (pamphlet)
Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, during the American Revolution. Common Sense, signed "Written by an Englishman", became an immediate success. In relation to the population of the Colonies at that time, it had the largest...

, the pro-independence monograph
Monograph
A monograph is a work of writing upon a single subject, usually by a single author.It is often a scholarly essay or learned treatise, and may be released in the manner of a book or journal article. It is by definition a single document that forms a complete text in itself...

 pamphlet he anonymously published on January 10, 1776; signed "Written by an Englishman", the pamphlet became an immediate success. It quickly spread among the literate, and, in three months, 100,000 copies (estimated 500,000 total including pirated editions sold during the course of the Revolution) sold throughout the American British colonies (with only two million free inhabitants), making it the best-selling American book. Paine's original title for the pamphlet was Plain Truth; Paine's friend, pro-independence advocate Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Rush was a Founding Father of the United States. Rush lived in the state of Pennsylvania and was a physician, writer, educator, humanitarian and a Christian Universalist, as well as the founder of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania....

, suggested Common Sense instead.

The pamphlet appeared in January 1776, after the Revolution had started. It was passed around, and often read aloud in taverns, contributing significantly to spreading the idea of republicanism, bolstering enthusiasm for separation from Britain, and encouraging recruitment for the Continental Army. Paine provided a new and convincing argument for independence by advocating a complete break with history. Common Sense is oriented to the future in a way that compels the reader to make an immediate choice. It offers a solution for Americans disgusted and alarmed at the threat of tyranny.

Paine was not, on the whole, expressing original ideas in Common Sense, but rather employing rhetoric as a means to arouse resentment of the Crown. To achieve these ends, he pioneered a style of political writing suited to the democratic society he envisioned, with Common Sense serving as a primary example. Part of Paine's work was to render complex ideas intelligible to average readers of the day, with clear, concise writing unlike the formal, learned style favored by many of Paine's contemporaries. Scholars have put forward various explanations to account for its success, including the historic moment, Paine's easy-to-understand style, his democratic ethos, and his use of psychology and ideology.

Common Sense was immensely popular in disseminating to a very wide audience ideas that were already in common use among the elite who comprised Congress and the leadership cadre of the emerging nation. They rarely cited Paine's arguments in their public calls for independence. The pamphlet probably had little direct influence on the Continental Congress's
Second Continental Congress
The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting on May 10, 1775, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, soon after warfare in the American Revolutionary War had begun. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which met briefly during 1774,...

 decision to issue a Declaration of Independence
United States Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. John Adams put forth a...

, since that body was more concerned with how declaring independence would affect the war effort. Paine's great contribution was in initiating a public debate about independence, which had previously been rather muted.

One distinctive idea in "Common Sense" is Paine's beliefs regarding the peaceful nature of republics; his views were an early and strong conception of what scholars would come to call the democratic peace theory
Democratic peace theory
Democratic peace theory is the theory that democracies don't go to war with each other. How well the theory matches reality depends a great deal on one's definition of "democracy" and "war"...

.

Loyalists
Loyalist (American Revolution)
Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the Kingdom of Great Britain during the American Revolutionary War. At the time they were often called Tories, Royalists, or King's Men. They were opposed by the Patriots, those who supported the revolution...

 vigorously attacked Common Sense; one attack, titled Plain Truth (1776), by Marylander James Chalmers
James Chalmers (loyalist)
James Chalmers was a Loyalist officer and pamphleteer in the American Revolution.Born in Elgin, Moray, Scotland, Chalmers was an ambitious military strategist during the War of Independence, but was apparently kept at arm's length by British commanders Sir William Howe and Sir Henry Clinton...

, said Paine was a political quack and warned that without monarchy, the government would "degenerate into democracy". Even some American revolutionaries objected to Common Sense; late in life John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

 called it a "crapulous mass." Adams disagreed with the type of radical democracy promoted by Paine (that men who did not own property should still be allowed to vote and hold public office), and published Thoughts on Government
Thoughts on Government
Thoughts on Government, or in full Thoughts on Government, Applicable to the Present State of the American Colonies, was written by John Adams during the spring of 1776 in response to a resolution of the North Carolina Provincial Congress which requested Adams's suggestions on the establishment of...

in 1776 to advocate a more conservative approach to republicanism.

Crisis (1776)


In late 1776 Paine published The Crisis
The American Crisis
The American Crisis was a series of pamphlets published from 1776 to 1783 during the American Revolution by 18th century Enlightenment philosopher and author Thomas Paine. The first volume begins with the famous words "These are the times that try men's souls". There were sixteen pamphlets in total...

pamphlet series, to inspire the Americans in their battles against the British army. He juxtaposed the conflict between the good American devoted to civic virtue and the selfish provincial man. To inspire his soldiers, General George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 had The American Crisis, first Crisis pamphlet, read aloud to them. It begins:

Foreign Affairs


In 1777, Paine became secretary of the Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs. The following year, he alluded to continuing secret negotiation with France in his pamphlets; the resultant scandal and Paine's conflict with Robert Morris eventually led to Paine's expulsion from the Committee in 1779. However, in 1781, he accompanied John Laurens
John Laurens
John Laurens was an American soldier and statesman from South Carolina during the Revolutionary War. He gained approval by the Continental Congress in 1779 to recruit a regiment of 3000 slaves by promising them freedom in return for fighting...

 on his mission to France. Eventually, after much pleading from Paine, New York State recognised his political services by presenting him with an estate, at New Rochelle
New Rochelle, New York
New Rochelle is a city in Westchester County, New York, United States, in the southeastern portion of the state.The town was settled by refugee Huguenots in 1688 who were fleeing persecution in France...

, New York, and Paine received money from Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 and from the US Congress at George Washington's suggestion. During the Revolutionary War, Paine served as an aide to the important general, Nathanael Greene
Nathanael Greene
Nathanael Greene was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. When the war began, Greene was a militia private, the lowest rank possible; he emerged from the war with a reputation as George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer. Many places in the United...

. Paine's later years established him as "a missionary of world revolution."

Funding the Revolution


Paine accompanied Col. John Laurens to France and is credited with initiating the mission. It landed in France in March 1781 and returned to America in August with 2.5 million livres
French livre
The livre was the currency of France until 1795. Several different livres existed, some concurrently. The livre was the name of both units of account and coins.-Etymology:...

 in silver, as part of a "present" of 6 million and a loan of 10 million. The meetings with the French king were most likely conducted in the company and under the influence of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

. Upon returning to the United States with this highly welcomed cargo, Thomas Paine and probably Col. Laurens, "positively objected" that General Washington should propose that Congress remunerate him for his services, for fear of setting "a bad precedent and an improper mode." Paine made influential acquaintances in Paris, and helped organize the Bank of North America to raise money to supply the army. In 1785, he was given $3,000 by the U.S. Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 in recognition of his service to the nation.

Henry Laurens (the father of Col. John Laurens) had been the ambassador to the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, but he was captured by the British on his return trip there. When he was later exchanged for the prisoner Lord Cornwallis (in late 1781), Paine proceeded to the Netherlands to continue the loan negotiations. There remains some question as to the relationship of Henry Laurens and Thomas Paine to Robert Morris as the Superintendent of Finance and his business associate Thomas Willing who became the first president of the Bank of North America (in Jan. 1782). They had accused Morris of profiteering in 1779 and Willing had voted against the Declaration of Independence. Although Morris did much to restore his reputation in 1780 and 1781, the credit for obtaining these critical loans to "organize" the Bank of North America for approval by Congress in December 1781 should go to Henry or John Laurens and Thomas Paine more than to Robert Morris.

Paine bought his only house in 1783 on the corner of Farnsworth Avenue and Church Streets in Bordentown City
Bordentown, New Jersey
Bordentown City is in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city population was 3,924. Bordentown is located at the confluence of the Delaware River, Blacks Creek and Crosswicks Creek...

, New Jersey, and he lived in it periodically until his death in 1809. This is the only place in the world where Paine purchased real estate.

Rights of Man


Having taken work as a clerk after his expulsion by Congress, Paine eventually returned to London in 1787, living a largely private life. However, his passion was again sparked by revolution, this time in France, which he visited in 1790. Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke PC was an Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher who, after moving to England, served for many years in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig party....

, who had supported the American Revolution, did not likewise support the events taking place in France, and wrote the critical Reflections on the Revolution in France
Reflections on the Revolution in France
Reflections on the Revolution in France , by Edmund Burke, is one of the best-known intellectual attacks against the French Revolution...

, partially in response to a sermon by Richard Price
Richard Price
Richard Price was a British moral philosopher and preacher in the tradition of English Dissenters, and a political pamphleteer, active in radical, republican, and liberal causes such as the American Revolution. He fostered connections between a large number of people, including writers of the...

, the radical minister of Newington Green Unitarian Church
Newington Green Unitarian Church
Newington Green Unitarian Church in north London is one of England's oldest Unitarian churches. It has had strong ties to political radicalism for over 300 years, and is London's oldest Nonconformist place of worship still in use...

. Many pens rushed to defend the Revolution and the Dissenting
English Dissenters
English Dissenters were Christians who separated from the Church of England in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.They originally agitated for a wide reaching Protestant Reformation of the Established Church, and triumphed briefly under Oliver Cromwell....

 clergyman, including Mary Wollstonecraft
Mary Wollstonecraft
Mary Wollstonecraft was an eighteenth-century British writer, philosopher, and advocate of women's rights. During her brief career, she wrote novels, treatises, a travel narrative, a history of the French Revolution, a conduct book, and a children's book...

, who published A Vindication of the Rights of Men
A Vindication of the Rights of Men
A Vindication of the Rights of Men, in a Letter to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke; Occasioned by His Reflections on the Revolution in France is a political pamphlet, written by the 18th-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, which attacks aristocracy and advocates republicanism...

only weeks after the Reflections. Paine wrote Rights of Man
Rights of Man
Rights of Man , a book by Thomas Paine, posits that popular political revolution is permissible when a government does not safeguard its people, their natural rights, and their national interests. Using these points as a base it defends the French Revolution against Edmund Burke's attack in...

, an abstract political tract critical of monarchies and European social institutions. He completed the text on January 29, 1791. On January 31, he gave the manuscript to publisher Joseph Johnson
Joseph Johnson (publisher)
Joseph Johnson was an influential 18th-century London bookseller and publisher. His publications covered a wide variety of genres and a broad spectrum of opinions on important issues...

 for publication on February 22. Meanwhile, government agents visited him, and, sensing dangerous political controversy, he reneged on his promise to sell the book on publication day; Paine quickly negotiated with publisher J.S. Jordan, then went to Paris, per William Blake's
William Blake
William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age...

 advice, leaving three good friends, William Godwin
William Godwin
William Godwin was an English journalist, political philosopher and novelist. He is considered one of the first exponents of utilitarianism, and the first modern proponent of anarchism...

, Thomas Brand Hollis
Thomas Brand Hollis
Thomas Brand Hollis , born Thomas Brand, was a British political radical and dissenter.Thomas Brand was born the only son of Timothy Brand of Ingatestone, Essex and was educated at Felsted School, Trinity College, Cambridge, the Inner Temple and Glasgow University.In 1748-9 he toured Europe with...

, and Thomas Holcroft
Thomas Holcroft
Thomas Holcroft was an English dramatist and miscellaneous writer.-Early life:He was born in Orange Court, Leicester Fields, London. His father had a shoemaker's shop, and kept riding horses for hire; but having fallen into difficulties was reduced to the status of hawking peddler...

, charged with concluding publication in Britain. The book appeared on March 13, three weeks later than scheduled, and sold well.

Undeterred by the government campaign to discredit him, Paine issued his Rights of Man, Part the Second, Combining Principle and Practice in February 1792. It detailed a representative government with enumerated social programs to remedy the numbing poverty of commoners through progressive tax
Progressive tax
A progressive tax is a tax by which the tax rate increases as the taxable base amount increases. "Progressive" describes a distribution effect on income or expenditure, referring to the way the rate progresses from low to high, where the average tax rate is less than the marginal tax rate...

 measures. Radically reduced in price to ensure unprecedented circulation, it was sensational in its impact and gave birth to reform societies. An indictment for seditious libel
Seditious libel
Seditious libel was a criminal offence under English common law. Sedition is the offence of speaking seditious words with seditious intent: if the statement is in writing or some other permanent form it is seditious libel...

 followed, for both publisher and author, while government agents followed Paine and instigated mobs, hate meetings, and burnings in effigy. The authorities aimed, with ultimate success, to chase Paine out of Great Britain. He was then tried in absentia
In absentia
In absentia is Latin for "in the absence". In legal use, it usually means a trial at which the defendant is not physically present. The phrase is not ordinarily a mere observation, but suggests recognition of violation to a defendant's right to be present in court proceedings in a criminal trial.In...

, found guilty though never executed.

In summer of 1792, he answered the sedition and libel charges thus: "If, to expose the fraud and imposition of monarchy ... to promote universal peace, civilization, and commerce, and to break the chains of political superstition, and raise degraded man to his proper rank; if these things be libellous ... let the name of libeller be engraved on my tomb".

Paine was an enthusiastic supporter of the French Revolution, and was granted, along with Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America's first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury...

, George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

, Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

 and others, honorary French citizenship
Citizenship
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

. Despite his inability to speak French, he was elected to the National Convention
National Convention
During the French Revolution, the National Convention or Convention, in France, comprised the constitutional and legislative assembly which sat from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795 . It held executive power in France during the first years of the French First Republic...

, representing the district of Pas-de-Calais. He voted for the French Republic
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

; but argued against the execution of Louis XVI
Louis XVI of France
Louis XVI was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre until 1791, and then as King of the French from 1791 to 1792, before being executed in 1793....

, saying that he should instead be exile
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

d to the United States: firstly, because of the way royalist France had come to the aid of the American Revolution; and secondly because of a moral objection to capital punishment in general and to revenge killings in particular. He participated to the Constitution Committee that drafted the Girondin constitutional project
Girondin constitutional project
The Girondin constitutional project, presented to the French National Convention on February 15 and 16, 1793, by Nicolas de Caritat, formerly the Marquis de Condorcet, is composed of three parts:...

.

Regarded as an ally of the Girondins
Girondist
The Girondists were a political faction in France within the Legislative Assembly and the National Convention during the French Revolution...

, he was seen with increasing disfavor by the Montagnards
The Mountain
The Mountain refers in the context of the history of the French Revolution to a political group, whose members, called Montagnards, sat on the highest benches in the Assembly...

 who were now in power, and in particular by Robespierre
Maximilien Robespierre
Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre is one of the best-known and most influential figures of the French Revolution. He largely dominated the Committee of Public Safety and was instrumental in the period of the Revolution commonly known as the Reign of Terror, which ended with his...

. A decree was passed at the end of 1793 excluding foreigners from their places in the Convention (Anacharsis Cloots
Jean-Baptiste du Val-de-Grâce, baron de Cloots
Jean-Baptiste du Val-de-Grâce, baron de Cloots , better known as Anacharsis Cloots , was a Prussian nobleman who was a significant figure in the French Revolution...

 was also deprived of his place). Paine was arrested and imprisoned in December 1793.

The Age of Reason



Before his arrest and imprisonment in France, knowing that he would probably be arrested and executed, Paine, following in the tradition of early eighteenth-century British deism, wrote the first part of The Age of Reason, an assault on organized "revealed" religion combining a compilation of inconsistencies he found in the Bible with his own advocacy of deism, calling for "free rational inquiry" into all subjects, especially religion. The Age of Reason critique on institutionalized religion resulted in only a brief upsurge in deistic thought in America, but Paine was derided by the public and abandoned by his friends.

Arrested in France, Paine protested and claimed that he was a citizen of America, which was an ally of Revolutionary France, rather than of Great Britain, which was by that time at war with France. However, Gouverneur Morris
Gouverneur Morris
Gouverneur Morris , was an American statesman, a Founding Father of the United States, and a native of New York City who represented Pennsylvania in the Constitutional Convention of 1787. He was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation. Morris was also an author of large sections of the...

, the American ambassador to France, did not press his claim, and Paine later wrote that Morris had connived at his imprisonment. Paine thought that George Washington had abandoned him, and he was to quarrel with Washington for the rest of his life. Years later he wrote a scathing open letter to Washington, accusing him of private betrayal of their friendship and public hypocrisy as general and president, and concluding the letter by saying "the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an impostor; whether you have abandoned good principles or whether you ever had any."

While in prison, Paine narrowly escaped execution. He kept his head and survived the few vital days needed to be spared by the fall of Robespierre on 9 Thermidor
Thermidorian Reaction
The Thermidorian Reaction was a revolt in the French Revolution against the excesses of the Reign of Terror. It was triggered by a vote of the Committee of Public Safety to execute Maximilien Robespierre, Antoine Louis Léon de Saint-Just de Richebourg and several other leading members of the Terror...

 (July 27, 1794).
Paine was released in November 1794 largely because of the work of the new American Minister to France, James Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

, who successfully argued the case for Paine's American citizenship. In July 1795, he was re-admitted into the Convention, as were other surviving Girondins. Paine was one of only three députés to oppose the adoption of the new 1795 constitution
French Constitution of 1795
The Constitution of 22 August 1795 was a national constitution of France ratified by the National Convention on 22 August 1795 during the French Revolution...

, because it eliminated universal suffrage
Universal suffrage
Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

, which had been proclaimed by the Montagnard Constitution of 1793
French Constitution of 1793
The Constitution of 24 June 1793 , also known as the Constitution of the Year I, or the The Montagnard Constitution , was the constitution instated by the Montagnards and by popular referendum under the First Republic during the French Revolution...

.

In 1797, Tom Paine lived in Paris with Nicholas Bonneville
Nicholas Bonneville
Nicolas de Bonneville, born 13 March 1760 at Evreux in Upper Normandy, died on 9 November 1828 in Paris; he was a French bookseller, printer, journalist, and writer...

 and his wife, Margaret. Paine, as well as Bonneville's other controversial guests, aroused the suspicions of authorities. Bonneville hid the Royalist
Royalist
A royalist supports a particular monarch as head of state for a particular kingdom, or of a particular dynastic claim. In the abstract, this position is royalism. It is distinct from monarchism, which advocates a monarchical system of government, but not necessarily a particular monarch...

 Antoine Joseph Barruel-Beauvert
Antoine Joseph Barruel-Beauvert
Antoine Joseph Barruel-Beauvert was a French military officer and journalist. He was born Comte de Barruel-Beauvert, at the castle of Beauvert, in Languedoc, but was impoverished by the Revolution. He took part in some events of the French Revolution...

 at his home and employed him as a proofreader. Beauvert had been outlawed following the coup of 18 Fructidor on September 4, 1797. Paine believed that America, under John Adams, had betrayed revolutionary France. Bonneville was then briefly jailed and his presses were confiscated, which meant financial ruin.

In 1800, still under police surveillance, Bonneville took refuge with his father in Evreux
Évreux
Évreux is a commune in the Eure department, of which it is the capital, in Haute Normandie in northern France.-History:In late Antiquity, the town, attested in the fourth century CE, was named Mediolanum Aulercorum, "the central town of the Aulerci", the Gallic tribe then inhabiting the area...

. Paine stayed on with him, helping Bonneville with the burden of translating the Covenant Sea. The same year, Paine purportedly had a meeting with Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

. Napoleon claimed he slept with a copy of Rights of Man under his pillow and went so far as to say to Paine that "a statue of gold should be erected to you in every city in the universe." Paine discussed with Napoleon how best to invade England and in December 1797 wrote two essays, one of which was pointedly named Observations on the Construction and Operation of Navies with a Plan for an Invasion of England and the Final Overthrow of the English Government, in which he promoted the idea to finance 1000 gunboats to carry a French invading army across the English Channel. In 1804 Paine returned to the subject, writing To the People of England on the Invasion of England advocating the idea.

On noting Napoleon's progress towards dictatorship, he condemned him as: "the completest charlatan that ever existed". Thomas Paine remained in France until 1802, returning to the United States only at President Jefferson's invitation.

Later years


In 1802 or 1803, Tom Paine left France for the United States, paying passage also for Bonneville's wife, Marguerite Brazier and their three sons, seven year old Benjamin
Benjamin Bonneville
Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bonneville was a French-born officer in the United States Army, fur trapper, and explorer in the American West...

, Louis, and Thomas, of whom Paine was godfather. Paine returned to the US in the early stages of the Second Great Awakening
Second Great Awakening
The Second Great Awakening was a Christian revival movement during the early 19th century in the United States. The movement began around 1800, had begun to gain momentum by 1820, and was in decline by 1870. The Second Great Awakening expressed Arminian theology, by which every person could be...

 and a time of great political partisanship. The Age of Reason gave ample excuse for the religiously devout to dislike him, and the Federalists attacked him for his ideas of government stated in Common Sense, for his association with the French Revolution, and for his friendship with President Jefferson. Also still fresh in the minds of the public was his Letter to Washington, published six years before his return.

Upon his return to America, Paine penned 'On the Origins of Freemasonry.' Nicholas Bonneville printed the essay in French. It was not printed in English until 1810, when Marguerite posthumously published his essay, which she had culled from among his papers, as a pamphlet containing an edited version wherein she omitted his references to the Christian religion. The document was published in English in its entirety in New York in 1918.

Brazier took care of Paine at the end of his life and buried him on his death on June 8, 1809. In his will, Paine left the bulk of his estate to Marguerite, including 100 acres (40.5 ha) of his farm so she could maintain and educate Benjamin and his brother Thomas. In 1814, The fall of Napoleon finally allowed Bonneville to rejoin his wife in the United States where he remained for four years before returning to Paris to open a bookshop.


Death


Paine died at the age of 72, at 59 Grove Street in Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village, , , , .in New York often simply called "the Village", is a largely residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan in New York City. A large majority of the district is home to upper middle class families...

, New York City on the morning of June 8, 1809. Although the original building is no longer there, the present building has a plaque noting that Paine died at this location.

After his death, Paine's body was brought to New Rochelle
New Rochelle, New York
New Rochelle is a city in Westchester County, New York, United States, in the southeastern portion of the state.The town was settled by refugee Huguenots in 1688 who were fleeing persecution in France...

, but no Christian church would receive it for burial, so his remains were buried under a walnut tree on his farm. In 1819, the English agrarian radical journalist William Cobbett
William Cobbett
William Cobbett was an English pamphleteer, farmer and journalist, who was born in Farnham, Surrey. He believed that reforming Parliament and abolishing the rotten boroughs would help to end the poverty of farm labourers, and he attacked the borough-mongers, sinecurists and "tax-eaters" relentlessly...

 dug up his bones and transported them back to England with the intention to give Paine a heroic reburial on his native soil, but this never came to pass. The bones were still among Cobbett's effects when he died over twenty years later, but were later lost. There is no confirmed story about what happened to them after that, although down the years various people have claimed to own parts of Paine's remains, such as his skull and right hand.

At the time of his death, most American newspapers reprinted the obituary notice from the New York Citizen, which read in part: "He had lived long, did some good and much harm." Only six mourners came to his funeral, two of whom were black, most likely freedmen
Freedman
A freedman is a former slave who has been released from slavery, usually by legal means. Historically, slaves became freedmen either by manumission or emancipation ....

. The writer and orator Robert G. Ingersoll
Robert G. Ingersoll
Robert Green "Bob" Ingersoll was a Civil War veteran, American political leader, and orator during the Golden Age of Freethought, noted for his broad range of culture and his defense of agnosticism. He was nicknamed "The Great Agnostic."-Life and career:Robert Ingersoll was born in Dresden, New York...

 wrote:

Thomas Paine had passed the legendary limit of life. One by one most of his old friends and acquaintances had deserted him. Maligned on every side, execrated, shunned and abhorred – his virtues denounced as vices – his services forgotten – his character blackened, he preserved the poise and balance of his soul. He was a victim of the people, but his convictions remained unshaken. He was still a soldier in the army of freedom, and still tried to enlighten and civilize those who were impatiently waiting for his death. Even those who loved their enemies hated him, their friend – the friend of the whole world – with all their hearts. On the 8th of June, 1809, death came – Death, almost his only friend. At his funeral no pomp, no pageantry, no civic procession, no military display. In a carriage, a woman and her son who had lived on the bounty of the dead – on horseback, a Quaker, the humanity of whose heart dominated the creed of his head – and, following on foot, two negroes filled with gratitude – constituted the funeral cortege of Thomas Paine.

Political views


Thomas Paine's natural justice
Natural justice
Natural justice is a term of art that denotes specific procedural rights in the English legal system and the systems of other nations based on it. Whilst the term natural justice is often retained as a general concept, it has largely been replaced and extended by the more general "duty to act fairly"...

 beliefs may have been influenced by his Quaker father. In The Age of Reason
The Age of Reason
The Age of Reason; Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology is a deistic pamphlet, written by eighteenth-century British radical and American revolutionary Thomas Paine, that criticizes institutionalized religion and challenges the legitimacy of the Bible, the central sacred text of...

his treatise supporting deism he says:

The religion that approaches the nearest of all others to true deism, in the moral and benign part thereof, is that professed by the Quakers ... though I revere their philanthropy, I cannot help smiling at [their] conceit; ... if the taste of a Quaker [had] been consulted at the Creation, what a silent and drab-colored Creation it would have been! Not a flower would have blossomed its gaieties, nor a bird been permitted to sing.


Later, his encounters with the Indigenous peoples of the Americas
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 made a deep impression. The ability of the Iroquois
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

 to live in harmony with nature while achieving a democratic decision making process, helped him refine his thinking on how to organize society.

In the second part of The Age of Reason, about his sickness in prison, he says: "... I was seized with a fever, that, in its progress, had every symptom of becoming mortal, and from the effects of which I am not recovered. It was then that I remembered, with renewed satisfaction, and congratulated myself most sincerely, on having written the former part of 'The Age of Reason'". This quotation encapsulates its gist:

The opinions I have advanced ... are the effect of the most clear and long-established conviction that the Bible and the Testament are impositions upon the world, that the fall of man, the account of Jesus Christ being the Son of God, and of his dying to appease the wrath of God, and of salvation, by that strange means, are all fabulous inventions, dishonorable to the wisdom and power of the Almighty; that the only true religion is Deism
Deism
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

, by which I then meant, and mean now, the belief of one God, and an imitation of his moral character, or the practice of what are called moral virtues and that it was upon this only (so far as religion is concerned) that I rested all my hopes of happiness hereafter. So say I now and so help me God.

Paine is often credited with writing "African Slavery in America", the first article proposing the emancipation of African slaves and the abolition
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

 of slavery. It was published on March 8, 1775 in the Postscript to the Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser (aka The Pennsylvania Magazine and American Museum). Citing a lack of evidence that Paine was the author of this anonymously published essay, some scholars (Eric Foner
Eric Foner
Eric Foner is an American historian. On the faculty of the Department of History at Columbia University since 1982, he writes extensively on political history, the history of freedom, the early history of the Republican Party, African American biography, Reconstruction, and historiography...

 and Alfred Owen Aldridge) no longer consider this one of his works. By contrast, John Nichols speculates that his "fervent objections to slavery" led to his exclusion from power during the early years of the Republic.

His last pamphlet, Agrarian Justice, published in the winter of 1795, further developed his ideas in the Rights of Man, about how land ownership separated the majority of people from their rightful, natural inheritance, and means of independent survival. The US Social Security Administration
Social Security Administration
The United States Social Security Administration is an independent agency of the United States federal government that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivors' benefits...

 recognizes Agrarian Justice as the first American proposal for an old-age pension; per Agrarian Justice:

In advocating the case of the persons thus dispossessed, it is a right, and not a charity ... [Government must] create a national fund, out of which there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property. And also, the sum of ten pounds per annum, during life, to every person now living, of the age of fifty years, and to all others as they shall arrive at that age.


Note that £10 and £15 would be worth about £800 and £1,200 when adjusted for inflation.

Religious views


About religion, The Age of Reason
The Age of Reason
The Age of Reason; Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology is a deistic pamphlet, written by eighteenth-century British radical and American revolutionary Thomas Paine, that criticizes institutionalized religion and challenges the legitimacy of the Bible, the central sacred text of...

says:
Though there is no evidence he was himself a Freemason, Paine also wrote "An Essay on the Origin of Free-Masonry" (1803–1805), about the Bible being allegorical myth describing astrology:
He described himself as deist, saying:

How different is [Christianity] to the pure and simple profession of Deism! The true Deist has but one Deity, and his religion consists in contemplating the power, wisdom, and benignity of the Deity in his works, and in endeavoring to imitate him in everything moral, scientifical, and mechanical.


and again, in The Age of Reason:

Legacy


Thomas Paine's writing greatly influenced his contemporaries and, especially, the American revolutionaries. His books provoked only a brief upsurge in Deism in America, but in the long term inspired philosophic
Philosophical radicals
The Philosophical Radicals is a term used to designate a philosophically-minded group of English political radicals in the nineteenth century inspired by Jeremy Bentham and James Mill...

 and working-class radicals
Radicalism (historical)
The term Radical was used during the late 18th century for proponents of the Radical Movement. It later became a general pejorative term for those favoring or seeking political reforms which include dramatic changes to the social order...

 in the UK, and US liberals, libertarians
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

, feminists, democratic socialists, social democrats, anarchists, freethinkers
Freethought
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas...

, and progressives
Progressivism
Progressivism is an umbrella term for a political ideology advocating or favoring social, political, and economic reform or changes. Progressivism is often viewed by some conservatives, constitutionalists, and libertarians to be in opposition to conservative or reactionary ideologies.The...

 often claim him as an intellectual ancestor. Paine's critique on institutionalized religion and advocation of rational thinking influenced many British freethinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, such as William Cobbett
William Cobbett
William Cobbett was an English pamphleteer, farmer and journalist, who was born in Farnham, Surrey. He believed that reforming Parliament and abolishing the rotten boroughs would help to end the poverty of farm labourers, and he attacked the borough-mongers, sinecurists and "tax-eaters" relentlessly...

, George Holyoake
George Holyoake
George Jacob Holyoake , English secularist and co-operator, was born in Birmingham, England. He coined the term "secularism" in 1851 and the term "jingoism" in 1878.-Owenism:...

, Charles Bradlaugh
Charles Bradlaugh
Charles Bradlaugh was a political activist and one of the most famous English atheists of the 19th century. He founded the National Secular Society in 1866.-Early life:...

 and Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

.

The quote "Lead, follow, or get out of the way" is widely but incorrectly attributed to Paine. This can be found nowhere in his published works.

Lincoln


Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

's law partner, William Herndon
William Herndon (lawyer)
William Henry Herndon was the law partner and biographer of Abraham Lincoln.-Biography:Born in Greensburg, Kentucky, Herndon and his family moved to Illinois in 1820, and they settled in Springfield when he was five. Herndon attended Illinois College from 1836-1837. In 1840 he married Mary J....

, reports that Lincoln wrote a defense of Paine's deism in 1835, and friend Samuel Hill burned it to save Lincoln's political career. Historian Roy Basler
Roy Basler
Roy Basler is an American historian who rose to prominence in the middle of the 20th century. Basler is most famous for editing the collected works of Abraham Lincoln. He also wrote the introduction to Sam Watkins' "Co Aytch"- Bibliography :...

, the editor of Lincoln's papers, said Paine had a strong influence on Lincoln's style:
No other writer of the eighteenth century, with the exception of Jefferson, parallels more closely the temper or gist of Lincoln's later thought. In style, Paine above all others affords the variety of eloquence which, chastened and adapted to Lincoln's own mood, is revealed in Lincoln's formal writings.

Edison


The inventor Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. In addition, he created the world’s first industrial...

 said:
I have always regarded Paine as one of the greatest of all Americans. Never have we had a sounder intelligence in this republic ... It was my good fortune to encounter Thomas Paine's works in my boyhood ... it was, indeed, a revelation to me to read that great thinker's views on political and theological subjects. Paine educated me, then, about many matters of which I had never before thought. I remember, very vividly, the flash of enlightenment that shone from Paine's writings, and I recall thinking, at that time, 'What a pity these works are not today the schoolbooks for all children!' My interest in Paine was not satisfied by my first reading of his works. I went back to them time and again, just as I have done since my boyhood days.

Memorials


The first and longest standing memorial to Thomas Paine is the carved and inscribed 12 foot marble column in New Rochelle, New York organized and funded by publisher, educator and reformer Gilbert Vale (1791–1866) and raised in 1839 by the American sculptor and architect James Frazee—The Thomas Paine Monument (see image below). New Rochelle is also the original site of Paine's 300 acre farm, confiscated by the State of New York from the Tory and monarchist Frederick Davoe and awarded to Paine for his services in the American Revolution. The same site is the home of the Thomas Paine Museum, whose holdings—the subject of a sell-off controversy—were temporarily relocated to the New York Historical Society and are now safely and more permanently archived in the Iona College Library.

In England a statue of Paine, quill pen and inverted copy of Rights of Man in hand, stands in King Street, Thetford, Norfolk, his birth place. Moreover, in Thetford, the Sixth form
Sixth form
In the education systems of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and of Commonwealth West Indian countries such as Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Jamaica and Malta, the sixth form is the final two years of secondary education, where students, usually sixteen to eighteen years of age,...

 is named after him. Thomas Paine was ranked #34 in the 100 Greatest Britons
100 Greatest Britons
100 Greatest Britons was broadcast in 2002 by the BBC. The programme was the result of a vote conducted to determine whom the United Kingdom public considers the greatest British people in history. The series, Great Britons, included individual programmes on the top ten, with viewers having further...

2002 extensive Nationwide poll conducted by the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...



Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
The Bronx Community College of The City University of New York is a community college in the City University of New York system located in the University Heights neighborhood of The Bronx.- History :...

 includes Paine in its Hall of Fame of Great Americans, and there are statues of Paine in Morristown
Morristown, New Jersey
Morristown is a town in Morris County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the town population was 18,411. It is the county seat of Morris County. Morristown became characterized as "the military capital of the American Revolution" because of its strategic role in the...

 and Bordentown
Bordentown, New Jersey
Bordentown City is in Burlington County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city population was 3,924. Bordentown is located at the confluence of the Delaware River, Blacks Creek and Crosswicks Creek...

, New Jersey, and in the Parc Montsouris, in Paris.

Also in Paris, there is a plaque in the street where he lived from 1797 to 1802, that says: "Thomas PAINE / 1737–1809 / Englishman by birth / American by adoption / French by decree".

Yearly, between July 4 and 14, the Lewes Town Council in the United Kingdom celebrates the life and work of Thomas Paine.

In the early 1990s, largely through the efforts of citizen activist David Henley of Virginia, legislation (S.Con.Res 110, and H.R. 1628) was introduced in the 102nd Congress by ideological opposites Sen. Steve Symms
Steve Symms
Steven Douglas Symms was a four-term congressman and two-term U.S. senator from Idaho. He was among the most conservative members of the Republican Party...

 (R-ID) and Rep. Nita Lowey
Nita Lowey
Nita Melnikoff Lowey is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1993. She is a member of the Democratic Party. She previously represented the 20th district from 1989 to 1993.-Early life, education and career:...

 (D-NY). With over 100 formal letters of endorsement by US and foreign historians, philosophers, and organizations, including the Thomas Paine National Historical Society, the legislation garnered 78 original co-sponsors in the Senate and 230 original co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, and was consequently passed by both houses unanimous consent. In October, 1992 the legislation was signed into law (PL102-407 & PL102-459) by President George H.W. Bush authorizing the construction, using private funds, of a memorial to Thomas Paine in "Area 1" of the grounds of the US Capitol. , the memorial has not yet been built.


In popular culture


Jack Shepherd's stage play In Lambeth dramatised a visit by Thomas Paine to the Lambeth
Lambeth
Lambeth is a district of south London, England, and part of the London Borough of Lambeth. It is situated southeast of Charing Cross.-Toponymy:...

 home of William
William Blake
William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age...

 and Catherine
Catherine Blake
Catherine Blake was the wife of the poet, painter and engraver William Blake , and a vital presence and assistant throughout his life as an artist.-Life:...

 Blake in 1789, first performed at the East Dulwich Tavern in London in July 1989. The play was later adapted for television in the BBC Two
BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

 Encounters series - which featured similar fictionalised meetings between historical figures - and was first broadcast on 4 July 1993. It was directed by Sebastian Graham-Jones, and featured Bob Peck
Bob Peck
Bob Peck was an English stage, television and film actor.-Early life:He went to Leeds Modern School in Lawnswood...

 as Paine, Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance is an English actor, theatre director and playwright.As an actor, Rylance found success on stage and screen. For his work in theatre he has won Olivier and Tony Awards among others, and a BAFTA TV Award...

 as William, and Lesley Claire O'Neill as Katherine (sic).

In 2009, Paine's life was dramatized in the play Citizen of the World, produced for the "Tom Paine 200 Celebrations" festival in Thetford
Thetford
Thetford is a market town and civil parish in the Breckland district of Norfolk, England. It is on the A11 road between Norwich and London, just south of Thetford Forest. The civil parish, covering an area of , has a population of 21,588.-History:...

, the town of his birth.

Paine's role in the foundation of the United States is depicted in a pseudo-biographical fashion in the educational animated series Liberty's Kids
Liberty's Kids
Liberty's Kids is an animated television series produced by DIC Entertainment, originally broadcast on PBS Kids from Septemer 2, 2002 to April 4, 2003, although PBS continued to air reruns until August 2004...

 produced by DIC Enteratinment.

See also


  • American Enlightenment
    American Enlightenment
    The American Enlightenment is the intellectual thriving period in America in the mid-to-late 18th century, especially as it relates to American Revolution on the one hand and the European Enlightenment on the other...

  • American philosophy
    American philosophy
    American philosophy is the philosophical activity or output of Americans, both within the United States and abroad. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy notes that while American philosophy lacks a "core of defining features, American Philosophy can nevertheless be seen as both reflecting and...

  • American Revolution
    American Revolution
    The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

  • Asset-based egalitarianism
    Asset-based egalitarianism
    Asset-based egalitarianism is a form of egalitarianism which theorises that equality is possible by a redistribution of resources, usually in the form of a capital grant provided at the age of majority...

     
  • Common Sense
    Common sense
    Common sense is defined by Merriam-Webster as, "sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts." Thus, "common sense" equates to the knowledge and experience which most people already have, or which the person using the term believes that they do or should have...

  • Contributions to liberal theory
    Contributions to liberal theory
    Individual contributors to classical liberalism and political liberalism are associated with philosophers of the Enlightenment. Liberalism as a specifically named ideology begins in the late 18th century as a movement towards self-government and away from aristocracy...


  • Deism
    Deism
    Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

  • English philosophy
  • Founding Fathers of the United States
    Founding Fathers of the United States
    The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were political leaders and statesmen who participated in the American Revolution by signing the United States Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American Revolutionary War, establishing the United States Constitution, or by some...

     
  • Liberalism
    Liberalism
    Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

  • Liberty
    Liberty
    Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

  • List of American philosophers

  • List of British philosophers
  • Political philosophy
    Political philosophy
    Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

  • Society of the Friends of Truth
    Society of the Friends of Truth
    The Society of the Friends of Truth , also known as the Social Club, was a French revolutionary organization founded in 1790. It was "a mixture of revolutionary political club, the Masonic Lodge, and a literary salon"...

  • United States Bill of Rights
    United States Bill of Rights
    The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and...

  • United States Declaration of Independence
    United States Declaration of Independence
    The Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. John Adams put forth a...

  • United States history


External links




Works