Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737 – June 8, 1809) was an English-American author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He has been called "a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination."
Starting over as a publicist, he first published his African Slavery in America, in the spring of 1775, criticizing slavery in America as being unjust and inhumane.
In 1774, he met Benjamin Franklin in London, who advised him to emigrate to America, giving him letters of recommandation.
Paine landed at Philadelphia on November 30, 1774.
Paine had turned Americans into radicals, and we have remained radicals at heart ever since.
Contributing fundamentally to the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the struggles of Britain's Industrial Revolution, Thomas Paine was one of the most remarkable political writers of the modern world and the greatest radical of a radical age.
It became a sensation, selling 120,000 copies in the first three months. Given that America had only two million free citizens at the time, that is the equivalent of an American author selling 15 million books in three months today.
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
Written at the outset of the Revolution, Common Sense became the leaven for the ferment of the times. It stirred the colonists to strengthen their resolve, resulting in the first successful anticolonial action in modern history.
And the pattern for this statue came from the lips of Napoleon himself when, at a banquet which he gave in Paine's honor, he raised his glass to toast this world citizen, and said, "Every city in the world should erect a gold statue to you."
''The Rights of Man'' (1791-92), which advocated that both France and America embrace the full implications of their respective revolutions: the end of slavery; equality for women; abolition of all property requirements to vote; complete separation of church and state; global peace enforced by an international confederation of republican governments. In other words, Paine was a radical visionary
Paine left for Europe in 1787. For the next four years he divided his time between Britain and France. Although he spent much of his time trying to find financial support for his iron bridge, he eventually resumed work as a revolutionary propagandist in the 1790s. Burke's resistance to the French Revolution inspired Paine to write his most influential work, the Rights of Man
In January 1776 he published a short pamphlet that earned him the title The Father of the American Revolution.
Titled simply, Common Sense, the work has been described by the Pulitzer-winning historian Gordon S Wood as "the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire [American] revolutionary period".
Thomas Paine was similarly astute. His Common Sense was the clarion call that began the revolution. As Washington's troops retreated from New York through New Jersey, Paine again rose to the challenge of literary warfare. With American Crisis, he delivered the words that would salvage the revolution.
On January 29, 1737, Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, England. His father, a corseter, had grand visions for his son, but by the age of 12, Thomas had failed out of school. The young Paine began apprenticing for his father, but again, he failed.
In 1796 he published a long letter to Washington, attacking his military reputation and his presidential policy with inexcusable bitterness. In 1802 Paine sailed for America, but while his services in behalf of the colonies were gratefully remembered, his Age of Reason and his attack on Washington had alienated many of his friends.