Thomas Paine was born on January 29, 1737 at Thetford, Norfolk in England as
a son of an Anglican mother and a Quaker father. He was poor throughout his
life. At 13 years old Thomas started working for his father at 19 and went to
sea. Thomas returned to England shortly thereafter and moved through various
jobs, after becoming a excise officer. A a officer he had to collect taxes from
smugglers he tracked down. Three things Thomas Paine was famous for was The
American Crisis, The rights of Man, and Common Sense.
Between 1776 and 1783 Thomas wrote a series of pamphlets entitled The American
Crisis. His words inspired those who battled in in the Revolutionary War, and
included the now famous first line, "These are the times that try men's
souls". George Washington ordered the pamphlets an dread it to his troops
in hope of that would inspire them to endure.
Paine returned to Great Britain in 1787, 1791, and 1792, he published The Rights
of Man, in two parts. It was famous of all replies to the condemnatory
Reflection Upon the French Revolution by the statesmen Edmund Burke. It was also
an analysis of the weakness of European society, proposing such remedies as
republican government and progressive income taxes. A million and a half copies
were sold in England and led alone before the book was suppressed. Paine's
criticism of monarchical rule in The Rights of Man caused an uproar for treason.
He was tried in absentia while en route to France in December 1792.
On January 10, 1776 Thomas published his most famous work, the 50-page pamphlet,
Common Sense. The document asserted that the colonist received no advantage from
Great Britain, which was exploiting them, and that every consideration of common
sense called for the colonies to become independent and establish a republican
government of their own. The document went on to criticize the monarchy as an
institution. Published anonymously, the pamphlet sold more than 500,000 copies
and helped encourage, with comments such as, "The birthday of a new world
is at hand," the issuance of the Declaration of Independence six months
The misinterpretation of this work resulted in Paine gaining ill repute as an
atheist and in the alienation of most of his old friends. In 1802, Paine
returned to the United States with the help of President Thomas Jefferson, and
found that people there had a negative opinion of him as well. Thomas died in
New York, and was buried on his farm in New Rochelle. Ten years later,
journalist William Cobbett moved his remains. The things Thomas Paine was famous
for were The American Crisis, The Rights of Man, and Common Sense.
History Book- The American Nation by Prentince Hall
Encyclopedia - Encarta Multimedia
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