Thomas Paine - (1737 - 1809)

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Thomas Paine
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Thomas Paine Tivia

Thomas Paine author of "Common Sense", a pamphlet published in Philadelphia in January 1776
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Thomas Paine Biography




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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Documents from our document library


Biography for Thomas Paine (1737 - 1809)
Biography for Thomas Paine
(File Size: 3.22K)

Dissertation on first-principles of government 07-07-1795
There is no subject in which mankind are more universally interested than in the subject of government. His security, be he rich or poor,
(File Size: 60.81K)

Common Sense - Thomas Paine 1791
Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable out
(File Size: 109.99K)

Rights of Man - Thomas Paine 1792
Rights of Man by Thomas Paine - Secretary For Foreign Affairs To Congress In The American War
(File Size: 515.06K)

Age of Reason - Thomas Paine 1794
I put the following work under your protection. It contains my opinions upon Religion. You will do me the justice to remember, that I have always strenuously supported the Right of every Man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to m
(File Size: 463.45K)

The American Crisis 1776
The American Crisis is a group of articles written by Thomas Paine. The first one was read to the troops at Valley Forge
(File Size: 424.82K)

The Crisis (1777-1783)
The American Crisis is a pamphlet series by 18th century Enlightenment philosopher and author Thomas Paine, originally published from 1776 to 1783 during the American Revolution. Often known as The American Crisis or simply The Crisis, there are sixteen p
(File Size: 415.65K)


Article/Blog Entries


Wise Quotes From our Founding Fathers

Does it seem as though we are relying more and more on past personalities and their comments to give us sage advice instead of developing our own morality and intellect? Who determines what is a wise quote, a funny quote or even any comment that should be immortalized by the ages?

The Failure of the Founders of The US Constitution

Several years ago I began to feel overwhelmed by all the reports coming from Washington, especially the multitude of deficit spending and I decided to get involved. I began asking myself if the Founders may have overlooked something in the U.S. Constitution which could have prevented us from veering so far off track. It inspired me to explore further into the teachings of some of the early political philosophers and Founding Fathers. Let us look at what I discovered.

American Revolution and War for Independence

This paper is dedicated to the history of American Revolution and the War for Independence. The primary purpose of the survey given here is to carry out an analysis of the events of the late 18th century in the British colonies in North America on the basis of vast historical material published in the United States. The process that took place before and during the 1776-1783 period when 13 British colonies' aspiration for independence broke out into the so-called War


Websites about Thomas Paine




From The Digital Public Library of America

There are currenlty are 552 items in the DLPA for Thomas Paine, only 25 are displayed here.

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Date: 1795-1795
    Type: image
    Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
  6. Date: 1793-1793
    Type: image
    Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
  7. Date: 1791-1791
    Type: image
    National Portrait Gallery
  8. Date: 1907
    Type: text
    Harvard University
  9. Date: 1899
    Type: text
    Bibliography: p. 148-150.
    University of California
  10. Date: ca. 1750-ca. 1880
    Type: image
    Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
  11. Date: 1899
    Type: text
    University of Michigan
  12. Date: 1896
    Type: text
    University of Minnesota
  13. Date: 1850-1850
    Type: image
    Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
  14. Date: 1868 - 1869
    Type: image
    Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
  15. Date: [c1899]
    Type: text
    Bibliography: p. [148]-150.
    University of California
  16. Date: 1792-1792
    Type: image
    National Portrait Gallery
  17. Type: image
    Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
  18. Type: image
    Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
  19. Date: ca. 1760-ca. 1900
    Type: image
    Wallach Division: Print Collection. The New York Public Library
  20. Date: 1879
    Type: text
    Two articles.
    University of Michigan
  21. Date: 1882
    Type: text
    Common sense.--The crisis.--Rights of man; part I and II.
    University of Virginia
  22. Date: 1894
    Type: text
    Mugar Memorial Library, Boston University
  23. Date: 1894-1896
    Type: text
    v. 1. 1774-1779. Introduction.--Prefatory note to Paine's first essay.--African slavery in America.--A dialogue between General Wolfe and General Gage in a wood near Boston.--The magazine in America.--Useful and entertaining hints.--New anecdotes of Alexander the Great.--Reflections on the life and death of Lord Clive.--Cupid and Hymen.--Duelling.--Reflections on titles.--The dream interpreted.--Reflections on unhappy marriages.--Thoughts on defensive war.--An occasional letter on the female sex.--A serious thougth.--Common sense.--Epistle to Quakers.--The forester's letters.--A dialogue.--The American crisis.--Retreat across the Delaware.--Letter to Franklin in Paris,--The affair of Silas Deane.--To the public on Mr. Deane's affair.--Messrs. Deane, Jay, and Gérard. v. 2. 1779-1792. Peace and the Newfoundland fisheries.--The American philosophical society.--Emancipation of slaves.--Public good.--Letter to the Abbe Raynal.--Dissertations on government; the affairs of the bank; and paper money.--The Society for political inquiries.--Prospects on the Rubicon.--Specification of Thomas Paine.--Letter to Jefferson in Paris.--Thomas Paine's answer to four questions on the legislative and executive powers.--Address and declaration.--The rights of man.--The rights of man, part second. v. 3. 1791-1804. The republican proclamation.--To the author's of "Le Républicain".--To the Abbé Sièyes.--To the attorney general.--To Mr. Secretary Dundas.--Letters to Onslow Cranley.--To the Sheriff of the county of Sussex.--To Mr. Secretary Dundas.--Letter addressed to the addressers on the late proclamation.--Address to the people of France.--Anti-monarchal essay.--To the attorney general, on the prosecution against the second part of Rights of man.--On the propriety of bringing Louis xvi. to trial.--Reasons for preserving the life of Louis Capet.--Shall Louis xvi. have respite?--Declaration of rights.--Private letters to Jefferson.--Letters to Danton.--A citizen of America to the citizens of Europe.--Appeal to the convention.--The memorial to Monroe.--Letter to George Washington.--Oberservations.--Dissertation on first principles of government.--The constitution of 1795.--The decline and fall of the English system of finance.--Forgetfulness.--Agrarian justice.--The eighteenth Fructidor.--The recall of Monroe.--Private letter to President Jefferson.--Proposal that Louisiana be purchased.--Thomas Paine to the citizens of the United States.--To the French inhabitants of Louisiana. v. 4. General introduction.--Editor's introduction to "The age of reason".--The age of reason (First part)--The age of reason (Second part)--Letters concerning "The age of reason".--Prosecution of "The age of reason".--The existence of God.--Worship and church bells.--Answer to the Bishop of Llandaff.--Origin of free-masonry.--Prospect papers.--Examination of prophecies.--Aleter to Andrew Dean.--Predestination.--Appendix A. Autobiographical sketch. B. A letter from London. C. Scientific memoranda. D. The iron bridge. E. The construction of iron bridges. F. To the people of England. G. Constitutional reform. H. Constitutions governments and charters. I. The cause of the yellow fever. J. Liberty of the press. K. Songs and rhymes. L. Case of the officers of excise. M. The will of Thomas Paine.--Index.
    Penn State University
  24. Date: 1817
    Type: text
    Advertisement on p. [1] at end.
    New York Public Library
  25. Date: 1887
    Type: text
    Common sense--The crisis--Rights of man (pts. 1-2).
    Indiana University
See all the items for "Thomas Paine" at the Digital Public Library of America

Quotes by Thomas Paine

Quote 411 details Share on Google+ - Quote 411 Linked In Share Button - Quote 411 He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.

Thomas Paine: Dissertation on First Principles of Government, December 23, 1791
Quoted Document: Dissertation on first-principles of government

Quote 414 details Share on Google+ - Quote 414 Linked In Share Button - Quote 414 It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf.

Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 1, December 19, 1776
Quoted Document: The Crisis

Quote 412 details Share on Google+ - Quote 412 Linked In Share Button - Quote 412 If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.

Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 1, December 19, 1776
Quoted Document: The Crisis

Quote 421 details Share on Google+ - Quote 421 Linked In Share Button - Quote 421 The Sun never shined on a cause of greater worth.

Thomas Paine: Common Sense, 1776
Quoted Document: Common Sense - Thomas Paine

Quote 418 details Share on Google+ - Quote 418 Linked In Share Button - Quote 418 The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.

Thomas Paine: Common Sense, 1776
Quoted Document: Common Sense - Thomas Paine

Quote 737 details Share on Google+ - Quote 737 Linked In Share Button - Quote 737 He who is the author of a war, lets loose the whole contagion of hell, and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death.

Thomas Paine: The Crisis No. V, 1797
Quoted Document: The Crisis

Quote 872 details Share on Google+ - Quote 872 Linked In Share Button - Quote 872 Life is sufficiently short without shaking the sand that measures it.

Thomas Paine: The Crisis, 1778
Quoted Document: The Crisis

Quote 409 details Share on Google+ - Quote 409 Linked In Share Button - Quote 409 As parents, we can have no joy, knowing that this government is not sufficiently lasting to ensure any thing which we may bequeath to posterity: And by a plain method of argument, as we are running the next generation into debt, we ought to do the work of it, otherwise we use them meanly and pitifully. In order to discover the line of our duty rightly, we should take our children in our hand, and fix our station a few years farther into life; that eminence will present a prospect, which a few present fears and prejudices conceal from our sight.

Thomas Paine: Common Sense, 1776
Quoted Document: Common Sense - Thomas Paine

Quote 716 details Share on Google+ - Quote 716 Linked In Share Button - Quote 716 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.

Thomas Paine: Unknown

Quote 881 details Share on Google+ - Quote 881 Linked In Share Button - Quote 881 Cultivation is, at least, one of the greatest natural improvements ever made by human invention. it has given to created earth a ten-fold value.

Thomas Paine: Agrarian Justice, 1797

Quote 415 details Share on Google+ - Quote 415 Linked In Share Button - Quote 415 Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to "bind me in all cases whatsoever" to his absolute will, am I to suffer it?

Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 1, December 19, 1776
Quoted Document: The Crisis

Quote 661 details Share on Google+ - Quote 661 Linked In Share Button - Quote 661 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.

Thomas Paine: 1785 - Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments

Quote 576 details Share on Google+ - Quote 576 Linked In Share Button - Quote 576 "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."

Thomas Paine: Thoughts on Defensive War

Quote 423 details Share on Google+ - Quote 423 Linked In Share Button - Quote 423 Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.

Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, September 11, 1777
Respectfully quoted: A dictionary of quotations...
Quoted Document: The Crisis

Quote 731 details Share on Google+ - Quote 731 Linked In Share Button - Quote 731 You have too much at stake to hesitate. You ought not to think an hour upon the matter, but to spring to action at once...Now our time and turn is come, and perhaps the finishing stroke is reserved for us. When we look back on the dangers we have been saved from, and reflect on the success we have been blessed with, it would be sinful either to be idle or to despair.

Thomas Paine: The Crisis No. IV, Sept. 12, 1777
Quoted Document: The Crisis

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