Permanent Gallery

Thomas Paine


Thomas Paine (February 9, 1737 – June 8, 1809) was an author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Born in England, Paine immigrated to the American colonies in 1774 in time to participate in the American Revolution. His principal contributions were the powerful, widely read pamphlet Common Sense (1776), advocating America's independence from Great Britain, and The American Crisis (1776–1783), a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series. His writing of "Common Sense" was so influential in spurring on the Revolutionary War that John Adams said, "Without the pen of the author of 'Common Sense,' the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain." Paine was also deeply involved in the early stages of the French Revolution. He wrote the Rights of Man (1791), in part a defiance of the French Revolution against its critics. He became notorious because of The Age of Reason (1793–94), his book promoting reason and freethinking, and arguing against institutionalized religion and Christian doctrines. At President Jefferson's invitation, he returned to America where he died on June 8, 1809.

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