Thomas Paine

Tom Paine was born in England and worked as a tax collector and political writer. Through the auspices of Benjamin Franklin, Paine came to the colonies in 1774 as the editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine. Lasting fame resulted from the publication of Common Sense in January 1776, followed some months later by the first of a series of pamphlets called The Crisis. With the continental forces in retreat, American readers received encouragement from the installments of The Crisis. In addition to his polemical writing, Paine served on the Committee on Foreign Affairs for the Continental Congress and as a clerk to the legislature in Pennsylvania. Following the War for American Independence, Paine left for England.

In 1791-92 he published The Rights of Man, a justification of the French Revolution; the treatise was suppressed in that country. Fleeing to France, Paine became politically active and was elected to the National Convention. In 1793, during the Reign of Terror, Paine was imprisoned by the Jacobins. During his confinement, he penned The Age of Reason, which embraced the popular deistic views of the day and was regarded as critical of the Bible. In 1796, Paine published a "Letter to George Washington," in which he attacked the soldierly reputation and policies of America`s hero. Paine returned to the United States in 1802. He died in New York City in 1809, a lonely, bitter and destitute man. His remains were later taken to England for reburial but were lost.

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Quotes by Thomas Paine.

Regarding Separation of Church and State
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
Regarding Christianity
The christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun.
Essay on the Origin of Free-Masonry
Regarding Government
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.
"Common Sense"
Regarding Separation of Church and State
Mingling religion with politics may be disavowed and reprobated by every inhabitant of America.
"Common Sense"
Regarding American Revolution
THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.
The American Crisis

Quotes regarding Thomas Paine.

By Thomas Edison
I consider Paine our greatest political thinker. As we have not advanced, and perhaps never shall advance, beyond the Declaration and Constitution, so Paine has had no successors who extended his principles.
The Philosophy of Paine (1925)