Founding Father Quotes

A collection of quotes from the authors of the Declaration of Independance and the Constitution of the United States.
Thomas

Thomas Paine

United States Founding Father(1737 - 1809)
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Thomas Paine Signature

Thomas Paine Biography [Text Version]


FEW men nave ever received so large a share of the podium of common public opinion (which Hood defined as "the average prejudice of mankind") as Thomas Paine, whose pen was almost as powerful in support of the republican cause in the early years of the Revolution, as was the sword of Washington ; because it gave vitality to that latent national sentiment which formed the necessary basis of support to the civil and military power then just evoked by the political exigencies of the American people. He was a native of Thetford, England, where he was born, in 1737. He was bred to the business of stay-maker, carried on by his father, but his mind could not long be chained to the narrow employment of fashioning whale-bone and buckram for the bodices of ladies. He sought and obtained an interview with Dr. Franklin, when that statesman first went to England as agent for Pennsylvania, and by his advice Paine came to America, in 1774, and at once employed his powerful pen in the cause of the aroused colonies. Many of his articles appeared in Pennsylvania papers, over the signature of Common Sense; and at the beginning of 1770, he wrote a pamphlet, at the suggestion of Dr. Rush, bearing that expressive title. It was the earliest and most powerful public appeal in favor of the independence of the colonies, and did more, probably, than any other instrumentality, to fix that idea firmly in the minds of the people. Within a hundred days after its appearance, almost every provincial assembly had spoken in favor of independence. Paine also commenced a series of papers called The Crisis, the first number of which was written in the camp of Washington, near the Delaware, at the close of 1776. They were issued at intervals, during the war. In the Spring of 1777, Paine was appointed, by Congress, Secretary to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, with a salary of seventy dollars a month. It was a position of great trust and reasonability, and he performed the duties satisfactorily until 1779, when, in a public dispute with Silas Deane, he revealed some secrets of his bureau, and was threatened with dismissal. He at once resigned his office, but remained a firm friend to his adopted country. After the war, he used his pen for a lively hood; and in 1790, he visited his native country. There he wrote his Rights of Man, which

1. This purchase was necessary to quiet the occupants of (he land in their possession, for they had purchased from the commissioners under the confiscation act.

2. So highly was that essay esteemed, that the legislature of Pennsylvania voted the author twenty-five hundred dollars. Washington regarded it as his most powerful aid. In a letter to Joseph Reed, he said, " By private letters which I have lately received from Virginia, I find that Common Sense is working a powerful change there in the minds of many men."

SOURCE: Eminent Americans - By Benson J. Lossing (Published 1886)

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Websites about Thomas Paine



The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science.

There are currenlty are 538 items in the DLPA for Thomas Paine, only 25 are displayed here.

Thomas Paine
Type: image
Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
Thomas Paine
Date: 1791-1791
Type: image
National Portrait Gallery
Thomas Paine
Type: image
Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
Thomas Paine
Date: 1783-1783
Type: image
In 1779 Henry Laurens commissioned Charles Willson Peale to paint a portrait of Thomas Paine that he intended to take with him as he sailed to Holland to raise money for the Continental Congress. Laurens was captured by a British ship on the high seas and the Peale portrait was confiscated. Eventually finding its way into the hands of a Paine admirer, it was engraved in 1783. "A portrait of Common Sense may be had . . . by sending to the printshops in London," a sharp-eyed Marylander reported, "but they have put a wrong name to it, his being Thomas." The original oil painting has dropped from sight, as has the duplicate that Peale added to his collection of likenesses of those who had played major roles in the American Revolution.
National Portrait Gallery
Thomas Paine
Date: 1792-1792
Type: image
National Portrait Gallery
Thomas Paine
Date: 1793-1793
Type: image
When Paine posed for George Romney during the summer of 1792, he had hopes that Rights of Man would do for England what Common Sense had done for America and was exhilarated by its distribution among the lower classes. His supporters, grumbled Hannah More, one of those who gave answer to Paine, "load asses with their pernicious pamphlets and . . . get them dropped, not only in cottages, and in highways, but into mines and coal-pits.
National Portrait Gallery
Thomas Paine
Type: image
Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
Thomas Paine
Type: image
Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
Thomas Paine
Type: image
Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
Thomas Paine /
Date: 1896
Type: text
University of Minnesota
Thomas Paine
Date: 1899
Type: text
University of Michigan
Thomas Paine /
Date: 1907
Type: text
University of California
Thomas Paine
Date: c. 1792
Type: image
Thomas Paine was often viewed as slovenly and unwashed, but Samuel Collings's image of the man in London during the early 1790s fits contrary descriptions. "In his dress and person he was generally very cleanly," wrote Paine's close friend Clio Rickman. He "wore his hair cued, with side curls, and powdered, so that he looked altogether like a gentleman of the old French school.
National Portrait Gallery
Thomas Paine
Date: 1899
Type: text
University of California
Thomas Paine
Type: image
Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
[Thomas Paine.]
Type: image
Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
Thomas Paine
Date: c. 1792
Type: image
Before the Reign of Terror began in 1793, Laurent Dabos, an artist from Toulouse undertook (apparently for the purpose of engraving) small full-length portraits of twelve luminaries of the French Revolution-Thomas Paine the only non-Frenchman among them. The bust version here shows Paine about the time he reached France. Well known as the author of Common Sense and Rights of Man, he was greeted by cannon salutes and cries of "Vive Thomas Paine.
National Portrait Gallery
Thomas Paine
Date: [c1899]
Type: text
Bibliography: p. [148]-150.
University of California
Thomas Paine
Type: image
Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
A Vindication of Thomas Paine. Thomas Paine, a Criticism
Date: 1879
Type: text
Two articles.
University of Michigan
Portrait of Thomas Paine
Type: text
University of Kentucky
Portrait of Thomas Paine
Type: text
University of Kentucky
Thomas Paine the patriot
Date: 1910?]
Type: text
University of California
The political works of Thomas Paine
Date: 1882
Type: text
Common sense.--The crisis.--Rights of man; part I and II.
University of Virginia
The theological works of Thomas Paine
Date: 1824
Type: text
Error in paging: 291 numbered 290.
Harvard University
See all the items for "Thomas Paine" at the Digital Public Library of America

Quotes by Thomas Paine


This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still.

-= Common Sense, 1776 =-

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.

-= The American Crisis, No. 4, September 11, 1777 =-

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

-= The American Crisis, No. 1, December 19, 1776 =-

We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in.

-= The American Crisis, No. 4, September 11, 1777 =-

We have it in our power to begin the world over again.

-= Common Sense, 1776 =-

What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.

-= The American Crisis, No. 1, December 19, 1776 =-

When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.

-= Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776 =-

"The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world not destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside ... Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them ... the weak will become prey to the strong."

-= Thoughts on Defensive War =-

The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.

-= 1785 - Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments =-

He who dares not offend cannot be honest.

-= Unknown =-

These are the times that try men`s soul`s

-= Unknown =-

What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.

-= Unknown =-

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined, nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants. They serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides from an unarmed man, may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.

-= Unknown =-

Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another. It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man.

-= Unknown =-

Mingling religion with politics may be disavowed and reprobated by every inhabitant of America.

-= Common Sense, 1776 =-


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