Thomas Paine - (1737 - 1809)

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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)

More Information about Thomas Paine

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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: 1896
    Type: text
    University of Minnesota
  12. Date: 1899
    Type: text
    University of Michigan
  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


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
Quoted Document: Common Sense - Thomas Paine


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
Quoted Document: The Crisis


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
Quoted Document: The Crisis

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
Quoted Document: The Crisis


We have it in our power to begin the world over again.
Common Sense, 1776
Quoted Document: Common Sense - Thomas Paine


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
Quoted Document: The Crisis

When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.
Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776
Quoted Document: Common Sense - Thomas Paine


"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
Quoted Document: Common Sense - Thomas Paine


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