Early life and educationThomas Paine was born on January 29, 1736 the son of Joseph Pain, a tenant farmer and stay-maker, and Frances () Pain, in , , England. Joseph was a and Frances an . Despite claims that Thomas changed the spelling of his family name upon his emigration to America in 1774, he was using "Paine" in 1769, while still in School History
In ''Pennsylvania Magazine''Paine barely survived the transatlantic voyage. The ship's water supplies were bad and killed five passengers. On arriving at Philadelphia, he was too sick to disembark. Benjamin Franklin's physician, there to welcome Paine to America, had him carried off ship; Paine took six weeks to recover. He became a citizen of Pennsylvania "by taking the oath of allegiance at a very early period". In March 1775, he became editor of the ''Pennsylvania Magazine'', a position he conducted with considerable ability. Before Paine's arrival in America, sixteen magazines had been founded in the colonies and ultimately failed, each featuring substantial content and reprints from England. In late 1774, Philadelphia printer Robert Aitken announced his plan to create what he called an "American Magazine" with content derived from the colonies. Paine contributed two pieces to the magazine's inaugural issue dated January 1775, and Aitken hired Paine as the Magazine's editor one month later. Under Paine's leadership, the magazine's readership rapidly expanded, achieving a greater circulation in the colonies than any American magazine up until that point. While Aiken had conceived of the magazine as nonpolitical, Paine brought a strong political perspective to its content, writing in its first issue that "every heart and hand seem to be engaged in the interesting struggle for ''American Liberty.''" Paine wrote in the ''Pennsylvania Magazine'' that such a publication should become a "nursery of genius" for a nation that had "now outgrown the state of infancy," exercising and educating American minds, and shaping American morality. On March 8, 1775, the ''Pennsylvania Magazine'' published an unsigned abolitionist essay titled ''African Slavery in America''. The essay is often attributed to Paine on the basis of a letter by , recalling Paine's claim of authorship to the essay. The essay attacked slavery as an "execrable commerce" and "outrage against Humanity and Justice." Consciously appealing to a broader and more working class audience, Paine also used the magazine to discuss worker rights to production. This shift in the conceptualization of politics has been described as a part of "the 'modernization' of political consciousness," and the mobilization of ever greater sections of society into political life.
''Common Sense'' (1776)Paine has a claim to the title ''The Father of the American Revolution'', which rests on his pamphlets, especially ''Common Sense,'' which crystallized sentiment for independence in 1776. It was published in on January 10, 1776, and signed anonymously "by an Englishman". It was an immediate success, quickly spreading 100,000 copies in three months to the two million residents of the 13 colonies. During the course of the American Revolution, a total of about 500,000 copies were sold, including unauthorized editions. Paine's original title for the pamphlet was ''Plain Truth'', but Paine's friend, pro-independence advocate , suggested ''Common Sense'' instead. Finding a printer who was daring enough to commit his print shop to the printing of ''Common Sense'' was not easy. At the advice of , Paine commissioned Robert Bell to print his work. The pamphlet came into circulation in January 1776, after the Revolution had started. It was passed around and often read aloud in taverns, contributing significantly to spreading the idea of republicanism, bolstering enthusiasm for separation from Britain, and encouraging recruitment for the . Paine provided a new and convincing argument for independence by advocating a complete break with history. ''Common Sense'' is oriented to the future in a way that compels the reader to make an immediate choice. It offers a solution for Americans disgusted with and alarmed at the threat of tyranny. Paine's attack on monarchy in ''Common Sense'' is essentially an attack on . Whereas colonial resentments were originally directed primarily against the king's ministers and Parliament, Paine laid the responsibility firmly at the king's door. ''Common Sense'' was the most widely read pamphlet of the American Revolution. It was a clarion call for unity against the corrupt British court, so as to realize America's providential role in providing an asylum for liberty. Written in a direct and lively style, it denounced the decaying despotisms of Europe and pilloried hereditary monarchy as an absurdity. At a time when many still hoped for reconciliation with Britain, ''Common Sense'' demonstrated to many the inevitability of separation. Paine was not on the whole expressing original ideas in ''Common Sense'', but rather employing rhetoric as a means to arouse resentment of the Crown. To achieve these ends, he pioneered a style of political writing suited to the democratic society he envisioned, with ''Common Sense'' serving as a primary example. Part of Paine's work was to render complex ideas intelligible to average readers of the day, with clear, concise writing unlike the formal, learned style favored by many of Paine's contemporaries. Scholars have put forward various explanations to account for its success, including the historic moment, Paine's easy-to-understand style, his democratic ethos, and his use of psychology and ideology. ''Common Sense'' was immensely popular in disseminating to a very wide audience ideas that were already in common use among the elite who comprised Congress and the leadership cadre of the emerging nation, who rarely cited Paine's arguments in their public calls for independence. The pamphlet probably had little direct influence on the Continental Congress' decision to issue a , since that body was more concerned with how declaring independence would affect the war effort. One distinctive idea in ''Common Sense'' is Paine's beliefs regarding the peaceful nature of republics; his views were an early and strong conception of what scholars would come to call the . vigorously attacked ''Common Sense''; one attack, titled ''Plain Truth'' (1776), by Marylander James Chalmers, said Paine was a political quack and warned that without monarchy, the government would "degenerate into democracy".Jensen, ''Founding of a Nation'', 669. Even some American revolutionaries objected to ''Common Sense''; late in life called it a "crapulous mass". Adams disagreed with the type of radical democracy promoted by Paine (that men who did not own property should still be allowed to vote and hold public office) and published '' '' in 1776 to advocate a more conservative approach to republicanism. Sophia Rosenfeld argues that Paine was highly innovative in his use of the commonplace notion of "common sense". He synthesized various philosophical and political uses of the term in a way that permanently impacted American political thought. He used two ideas from Scottish Common Sense Realism: that ordinary people can indeed make sound judgments on major political issues, and that there exists a body of popular wisdom that is readily apparent to anyone. Paine also used a notion of "common sense" favored by s in the Continental Enlightenment. They held that common sense could refute the claims of traditional institutions. Thus, Paine used "common sense" as a weapon to de-legitimize the monarchy and overturn prevailing conventional wisdom. Rosenfeld concludes that the phenomenal appeal of his pamphlet resulted from his synthesis of popular and elite elements in the independence movement. According to historian , ''Common Sense'' became immensely popular mainly because Paine appealed to widespread convictions. Monarchy, he said, was preposterous and it had a heathenish origin. It was an institution of the devil. Paine pointed to the , where almost all kings had seduced the Israelites to worship idols instead of God. Paine also denounced aristocracy, which together with monarchy were "two ancient tyrannies." They violated the laws of nature, human reason, and the "universal order of things," which began with God. That was, Middlekauff says, exactly what most Americans wanted to hear. He calls the Revolutionary generation "the children of the twice-born". because in their childhood they had experienced the Great Awakening, which, for the first time, had tied Americans together, transcending denominational and ethnic boundaries and giving them a sense of patriotism.
Possible involvement in drafting the United States Declaration of IndependenceWhile there is no historical record of Paine's involvement in drafting the , some scholars of Early American History have suspected Thomas Paine's involvement over the past two centuries. As noted by the Thomas Paine National Historical Association, multiple authors have hypothesized and written on the subject, including Moody (1872), Van der Weyde (1911), Lewis (1947), and more recently, Smith & Rickards (2007). In 2018, the Thomas Paine National Historical Association introduced an early draft of the Declaration that contained evidence of Paine's involvement based on an inscription of "T.P." on the back of the document. During the early deliberations of the Committee of Five members chosen by Congress to draft the Declaration of Independence, John Adams made a hastily written manuscript copy of the original draft of the Declaration of Independence on June 24, 1776, known as the Sherman Copy. Adams made this copy shortly before preparing another neater, fair copy that is held in the Adams Family Papers collection at the Massachusetts Historical Society. The Sherman copy of The Declaration of Independence is one of several working drafts of the Declaration, made for Roger Sherman's review and approval before the Committee of Five submitted a finalized draft to Congress. The Sherman Copy of the Declaration of Independence contains an inscription on the back of the document that states: "''A beginning perhaps-Original with Jefferson-Copied from Original with T.P.'s permission''." According to the Thomas Paine National Historical Association, the individual referenced as "T.P." in the inscription appears to be Thomas Paine. The degree to which Paine was involved in formulating the text of the Declaration is unclear, as the original draft referenced in the Sherman Copy inscription is presumed lost or destroyed. However, John Adams' request for permission of "T.P." to copy the original draft may suggest that Paine had a role either assisting Jefferson with organizing ideas within the Declaration, or contributing to the text of the original draft itself.
''The American Crisis'' (1776)In late 1776, Paine published '' '' pamphlet series to inspire the Americans in their battles against the British army. He juxtaposed the conflict between the good American devoted to civic virtue and the selfish provincial man. To inspire his soldiers, General had ''The American Crisis'', first ''Crisis'' pamphlet, read aloud to them. It begins:
Foreign affairsIn 1777, Paine became secretary of the Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs. The following year, he alluded to secret negotiation underway with France in his pamphlets. His enemies denounced his indiscretions. There was scandal; together with Paine's conflict with and it led to Paine's expulsion from the Committee in 1779. However, in 1781, he accompanied on his mission to France. Eventually, after much pleading from Paine, New York State recognized his political services by presenting him with an estate at , New York and Paine received money from Pennsylvania and from Congress at Washington's suggestion. During the Revolutionary War, Paine served as an aide-de-camp to the important general, .
Silas Deane AffairIn what may have been an error, and perhaps even contributed to his resignation as the secretary to the Committee of Foreign Affairs, Paine was openly critical of , an American diplomat who had been appointed in March 1776 by the Congress to travel to France in secret. Deane's goal was to influence the French government to finance the colonists in their fight for independence. Paine largely saw Deane as a war profiteer who had little respect for principle, having been under the employ of , one of the primary financiers of the American Revolution and working with , a French royal agent sent to the colonies by King Louis to investigate the Anglo-American conflict. Paine uncovered the financial connection between Morris, who was Superintendent for Finance of the Continental Congress, and Deane. Harlow Giles Unger, "Thomas Paine and the Clarion Call for American Independence," (New York: Da Capo Press, 2019), p. 89 Paine labeled Deane as unpatriotic, and demanded that there be a public investigation into Morris' financing of the Revolution, as he had contracted with his own company for around $500,000. Wealthy men, such as Robert Morris, and powerful ers, were leaders of the Continental Congress and defended holding public positions while at the same time profiting off their own personal financial dealings with governments. Amongst Paine's criticisms, he had written in the '' '' that France had "''prefaced alliance by an early and generous friendship''," referring to aid that had been provided to American colonies prior to the recognition of the Franco-American treaties. This was alleged to be effectively an embarrassment to France, which potentially could have jeopardized the alliance. John Jay, the President of the Congress, who had been a fervent supporter of Deane, immediately spoke out against Paine's comments. The controversy eventually became public, and Paine was then denounced as unpatriotic for criticizing an American revolutionary. He was even physically assaulted twice in the street by Deane supporters. This much-added stress took a large toll on Paine, who was generally of a sensitive character and he resigned as secretary to the Committee of Foreign Affairs in 1779. Paine left the Committee without even having enough money to buy food for himself. Much later, when Paine returned from his mission to France, Deane's corruption had become more widely acknowledged. Many, including Robert Morris, apologized to Paine and Paine's reputation in Philadelphia was restored.
"Public Good"In 1780, Paine published a pamphlet entitled "Public Good," in which he made the case that territories west of the 13 colonies that had been part of the British Empire belonged after the Declaration of Independence to the American government, and did not belong to any of the 13 states or to any individual speculators. A of 1609 had granted to the land stretching to the Pacific Ocean. A small group of wealthy Virginia land speculators, including the Washington, Lee, and Randolph families, had taken advantage of this royal charter to survey and to claim title to huge swaths of land, including much land west of the 13 colonies. In "Public Good," Paine argued that these lands belonged to the American government as represented by the Continental Congress. This angered many of Paine's wealthy Virginia friends, including of the powerful Lee family, who had been Paine's closest ally in Congress, , and , all of whom had claimed to huge wild tracts that Paine was advocating should be government owned. The view that Paine had advocated eventually prevailed when the of 1787 was passed. The animosity Paine felt as a result of the publication of "Public Good" fueled his decision to embark with on a mission to travel to Paris to obtain funding for the American war effort.
Funding the RevolutionPaine accompanied Col. John Laurens to France and is credited with initiating the mission. It landed in France in March 1781 and returned to America in August with 2.5 million in silver, as part of a "present" of 6 million and a loan of 10 million. The meetings with the French king were most likely conducted in the company and under the influence of . Upon returning to the United States with this highly welcomed cargo, Thomas Paine and probably Col. Laurens, "positively objected" that General Washington should propose that Congress remunerate him for his services, for fear of setting "a bad precedent and an improper mode". Paine made influential acquaintances in Paris and helped organize the to raise money to supply the army. In 1785, he was given $3,000 by the in recognition of his service to the nation. (father of Col. ) had been the ambassador to the , but he was captured by the British on his return trip there. When he was later exchanged for the prisoner in late 1781, Paine proceeded to the Netherlands to continue the loan negotiations. There remains some question as to the relationship of Henry Laurens and Thomas Paine to Robert Morris as the Superintendent of Finance and his business associate Thomas Willing who became the first president of the Bank of North America in January 1782. They had accused Morris of profiteering in 1779 and Willing had voted against the Declaration of Independence. Although Morris did much to restore his reputation in 1780 and 1781, the credit for obtaining these critical loans to "organize" the Bank of North America for approval by Congress in December 1781 should go to Henry or John Laurens and Thomas Paine more than to Robert Morris. Paine bought his only house in 1783 on the corner of Farnsworth Avenue and Church Streets in Bordentown City, New Jersey and he lived in it periodically until his death in 1809. This is the only place in the world where Paine purchased real estate. In 1785, Paine was elected a member of the . In 1787, a bridge of Paine's design was built across the at Philadelphia. At this time his work on single-arch iron bridges led him back to Paris, France. Because Paine had few friends when arriving in France aside from and Jefferson, he continued to correspond heavily with Benjamin Franklin, a long time friend and mentor. Franklin provided letters of introduction for Paine to use to gain associates and contacts in France. Later that year, Paine returned to London from Paris. He then released a pamphlet on August 20 called ''Prospects on the Rubicon: or, an investigation into the Causes and Consequences of the Politics to be Agitated at the Meeting of Parliament''. Tensions between England and France were increasing, and this pamphlet urged the British Ministry to reconsider the consequences of war with France. Paine sought to turn the public opinion against the war to create better relations between the countries, avoid the taxes of war upon the citizens, and not engage in a war he believed would ruin both nations.
''Rights of Man''Back in London by 1787, Paine would become engrossed in the French Revolution that began two years later, and decided to travel to France in 1790. Meanwhile, conservative intellectual launched a counterrevolutionary blast against the French Revolution, entitled '' '' (1790), which strongly appealed to the landed class, and sold 30,000 copies. Paine set out to refute it in his '' '' (1791). He wrote it not as a quick pamphlet, but as a long, abstract political tract of 90,000 words which tore apart monarchies and traditional social institutions. On January 31, 1791, he gave the manuscript to publisher Joseph Johnson. A visit by government agents dissuaded Johnson, so Paine gave the book to publisher J. S. Jordan, then went to Paris, per 's advice. He charged three good friends, , , and , with handling publication details. The book appeared on March 13, 1791, and sold nearly a million copies. It was "eagerly read by reformers, Protestant dissenters, democrats, London craftsmen, and the skilled factory-hands of the new industrial north". Undeterred by the government campaign to discredit him, Paine issued his ''Rights of Man, Part the Second, Combining Principle and Practice'' in February 1792. It detailed a representative government with enumerated social programs to remedy the numbing poverty of commoners through measures. Radically reduced in price to ensure unprecedented circulation, it was sensational in its impact and gave birth to reform societies. An indictment for followed, for both publisher and author, while government agents followed Paine and instigated mobs, hate meetings, and burnings in effigy. A fierce pamphlet war also resulted, in which Paine was defended and assailed in dozens of works. The authorities aimed, with ultimate success, to chase Paine out of Great Britain. He was then tried ''in absentia'' and found guilty, although never executed. The French translation of ''Rights of Man, Part II'' was published in April 1792. The translator, François Lanthenas, eliminated the dedication to Lafayette, as he believed Paine thought too highly of Lafayette, who was seen as a royalist sympathizer at the time. In summer of 1792, he answered the sedition and libel charges thus: "If, to expose the fraud and imposition of monarchy ... to promote universal peace, civilization, and commerce, and to break the chains of political superstition, and raise degraded man to his proper rank; if these things be libellous ... let the name of libeller be engraved on my tomb." Paine was an enthusiastic supporter of the French Revolution, and was granted honorary French alongside prominent contemporaries such as , , and others. Paine's honorary citizenship was in recognition of the publishing of his ''Rights of Man, Part II'' and the sensation it created within France. Despite his inability to speak French, he was elected to the , representing the district of . Several weeks after his election to the National Convention, Paine was selected as one of nine deputies to be part of the Convention's Constitutional Committee, who were charged to draft a suitable constitution for the . He subsequentially participated in the Constitutional Committee in drafting the . He voted for the French Republic, but argued against the execution of , saying the monarch should instead be d to the United States: firstly, because of the way royalist France had come to the aid of the American Revolution; and secondly, because of a moral objection to capital punishment in general and to revenge killings in particular. However, Paine's speech in defense of Louis XVI was interrupted by , who claimed that as a Quaker, Paine's religious beliefs ran counter to inflicting capital punishment and thus he should be ineligible to vote. Marat interrupted a second time, stating that the translator was deceiving the convention by distorting the meanings of Paine's words, prompting Paine to provide a copy of the speech as proof that he was being correctly translated. Regarded as an ally of the , he was seen with increasing disfavor by the , who were now in power; and in particular by . A decree was passed at the end of 1793 excluding foreigners from their places in the Convention ( was also deprived of his place). Paine was arrested and imprisoned in December 1793. Paine wrote the second part of '' '' on a desk in Thomas 'Clio' Rickman's house, with whom he was staying in 1792 before he fled to France. This desk is currently on display in the People's History Museum in Manchester.
''The Age of Reason''Paine was arrested in France on December 28, 1793. Joel Barlow was unsuccessful in securing Paine's release by circulating a petition among American residents in Paris. Sixteen American citizens were allowed to plead for Paine's release to the Convention, yet President Marc-Guillaume Alexis Vadier of the Committee of General Security refused to acknowledge Paine's American citizenship, stating he was an Englishman and a citizen of a country at war with France. Paine himself protested and claimed that he was a citizen of the U.S., which was an ally of Revolutionary France, rather than of Great Britain, which was by that time at war with France. However, Gouverneur Morris, the American minister to France, did not press his claim, and Paine later wrote that Morris had connived at his imprisonment. Paine narrowly escaped execution. A chalk mark was supposed to be left by the gaoler on the door of a cell to denote that the prisoner inside was due to be removed for execution. In Paine's case, the mark had accidentally been made on the inside of his door rather than the outside; this was due to the fact that the door of Paine's cell had been left open whilst the gaoler was making his rounds that day, since Paine had been receiving official visitors. But for this quirk of fate, Paine would have been executed the following morning. He kept his head and survived the few vital days needed to be spared by the fall of Robespierre on Thermidorian Reaction, 9 Thermidor (July 27, 1794). Paine was released in November 1794 largely because of the work of the new American Minister to France, , who successfully argued the case for Paine's American citizenship. In July 1795, he was re-admitted into the Convention, as were other surviving Girondins. Paine was one of only three députés to oppose the adoption of the new Constitution of the Year III, 1795 constitution because it eliminated universal suffrage, which had been proclaimed by the French Constitution of 1793, Montagnard Constitution of 1793. In 1796, a Wearmouth Bridge (1796), bridge he designed was erected over the mouth of the Wear River at Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England. This bridge, the Sunderland arch, was after the same design as his Bridge in Philadelphia and it became the prototype for many subsequent voussoir arches made in iron and steel. In addition to receiving a British patent for the single-span iron bridge, Paine developed a smokeless candle and worked with inventor John Fitch (inventor), John Fitch in developing steam engines. In 1797, Paine lived in Paris with Nicholas Bonneville and his wife. As well as Bonneville's other controversial guests, Paine aroused the suspicions of authorities. Bonneville hid the Royalist Antoine Joseph Barruel-Beauvert at his home. Beauvert had been outlawed following the coup of 18 Fructidor on September 4, 1797. Paine believed that the United States under President had betrayed revolutionary France. Bonneville was then briefly jailed and his presses were confiscated, which meant financial ruin. In 1800, still under police surveillance, Bonneville took refuge with his father in Evreux. Paine stayed on with him, helping Bonneville with the burden of translating the "Covenant Sea". The same year, Paine purportedly had a meeting with Napoleon. Napoleon claimed he slept with a copy of ''Rights of Man'' under his pillow and went so far as to say to Paine that "a statue of gold should be erected to you in every city in the universe". Paine discussed with Napoleon how best to invade England. In December 1797, he wrote two essays, one of which was pointedly named ''Observations on the Construction and Operation of Navies with a Plan for an Invasion of England and the Final Overthrow of the English Government'', in which he promoted the idea to finance 1,000 gunboats to carry a French invading army across the English Channel. In 1804, Paine returned to the subject, writing ''To the People of England on the Invasion of England'' advocating the idea. However, upon noting Napoleon's progress towards dictatorship, he condemned him as "the completest charlatan that ever existed". Paine remained in France until 1802, returning to the United States only at President Jefferson's invitation.
Criticism of George WashingtonUpset that U.S. President George Washington, a friend since the Revolutionary War, did nothing during Paine's imprisonment in France, Paine believed Washington had betrayed him and conspired with Robespierre. While staying with Monroe, Paine planned to send Washington a letter of grievance on the president's birthday. Monroe stopped the letter from being sent, and after Paine's criticism of the Jay Treaty, which was supported by Washington, Monroe suggested that Paine live elsewhere. Paine then sent a stinging letter to George Washington, in which he described him as an incompetent commander and a vain and ungrateful person. Having received no response, Paine contacted his longtime publisher Benjamin Franklin Bache (journalist), Benjamin Bache, the Jeffersonian democrat, to publish his ''Letter to George Washington'' of 1796 in which he derided Washington's reputation by describing him as a treacherous man who was unworthy of his fame as a military and political hero. Paine wrote that "the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an impostor; whether you have abandoned good principles or whether you ever had any". He declared that without France's aid Washington could not have succeeded in the American Revolution and had "but little share in the glory of the final event". He also commented on Washington's character, saying that Washington had no sympathetic feelings and was a hypocrite.
Later yearsIn 1802 or 1803, Paine left France for the United States, also paying the passage for Bonneville's wife Marguerite Brazier and the couple's three sons, Benjamin Bonneville, Benjamin, Louis Bonneville, Louis and Thomas Bonneville, to whom Paine was godfather. Paine returned to the United States in the early stages of the Second Great Awakening and a time of great political partisanship. The ''Age of Reason'' gave ample excuse for the religiously devout to dislike him, while the Federalists attacked him for his ideas of government stated in ''Common Sense,'' for his association with the French Revolution, and for his friendship with President Jefferson. Also still fresh in the minds of the public was his ''Letter to Washington,'' published six years before his return. This was compounded when his right to vote was denied in on the grounds that Gouverneur Morris did not recognize him as an American and Washington had not aided him. Brazier took care of Paine at the end of his life and buried him after his death. In his will, Paine left the bulk of his estate to Marguerite, including 100 acres (40.5 ha) of his farm so she could maintain and educate Benjamin and his brother Thomas. In 1814, the fall of Napoleon finally allowed Bonneville to rejoin his wife in the United States where he remained for four years before returning to Paris to open a bookshop.
DeathOn the morning of June 8, 1809, Paine died, aged 72, at 59 Grove Street in Greenwich Village, New York City. Although the original building no longer exists, the present building has a plaque noting that Paine died at this location. After his death, Paine's body was brought to New Rochelle, but the Quakers would not allow it to be buried in their graveyard as per his last will, so his remains were buried under a walnut tree on his farm. In 1819, English agrarian radical journalist William Cobbett, who in 1793 had published a hostile continuation of Francis Oldys (George Chalmer)'s ''The Life of Thomas Paine'', dug up his bones and transported them back to England with the intention to give Paine a heroic reburial on his native soil, but this never came to pass. The bones were still among Cobbett's effects when he died over fifteen years later, but were later lost. There is no confirmed story about what happened to them after that, although various people have claimed throughout the years to own parts of Paine's remains, such as his skull and right hand. At the time of his death, most American newspapers reprinted the obituary notice from the ''New York Evening Post'' that was in turn quoting from ''The American Citizen'', which read in part: "He had lived long, did some good, and much harm". Only six mourners came to his funeral, two of whom were black, most likely Freedman, freedmen. Many years later the writer and orator Robert G. Ingersoll wrote:
IdeasBiographer Eric Foner identifies a utopian thread in Paine's thought, writing: "Through this new language he communicated a new visiona utopian image of an egalitarian, republican society". Paine's utopianism combined republicanism in the United States, civic republicanism, belief in the inevitability of scientific and social progress and commitment to free markets and liberty generally. The multiple sources of Paine's political theory all pointed to a society based on the common good and individualism. Paine expressed a redemptive futurism or political messianism. Writing that his generation "would appear to the future as the Adam of a new world", Paine exemplified British utopianism. Later, his encounters with the Indigenous peoples of the Americas made a deep impression. The ability of the Iroquois to live in harmony with nature while achieving a democratic decision-making process helped him refine his thinking on how to organize society.
SlaveryOn March 8, 1775, one month after Paine became the editor of ''The Pennsylvania Magazine'', the magazine published an anonymous article titled "African Slavery in America," the first prominent piece in the colonies proposing the emancipation of African-American slaves and the Abolitionism in the United States, abolition of slavery. Paine is often credited with writing the piece, on the basis of later testimony by Benjamin Rush, cosigner of the Declaration of Independence. Citing a lack of further evidence of Paine's authorship, however, scholars Foner and Alfred Owen Aldridge no longer consider it to be one of his works. By contrast, journalist John Nichols writes that Paine's "fervent objections to Slavery in the United States, slavery" led to his exclusion from power during the early years of the Republic.
State funded social programsIn his ''Rights of Man, Part Second'', Paine advocated a comprehensive program of state support for the population to ensure the welfare of society, including state subsidy for poor people, state-financed universal public education, and state-sponsored prenatal care and postnatal care, including state subsidies to families at childbirth. Recognizing that a person's "labor ought to be over" before old age, Paine also called for a state pension to all workers starting at age 50, which would be doubled at age 60.
''Agrarian Justice''His last pamphlet, '' '', published in the winter of 1795, opposed agrarian law and agrarian monopoly and further developed his ideas in the ''Rights of Man'' about how land ownership separated the majority of people from their rightful, natural inheritance and means of independent survival. The U.S. Social Security Administration recognizes ''Agrarian Justice'' as the first American proposal for an Pension, old-age pension and basic income or citizen's dividend. Per ''Agrarian Justice'':
In advocating the case of the persons thus dispossessed, it is a right, and not a charity ... [Government must] create a national fund, out of which there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property. And also, the sum of ten pounds per annum, during life, to every person now living, of the age of fifty years, and to all others as they shall arrive at that age.In 2011, £10 and £15 would be worth about £800 and £1,200 ($1,200 and $2,000) when adjusted for inflation. Lamb argues that Paine's analysis of property rights marks a distinct contribution to political theory. His theory of property defends a libertarian concern with private ownership that shows an egalitarian commitment. Paine's new justification of property sets him apart from previous theorists such as Hugo Grotius, Samuel von Pufendorf and John Locke. Lamb says it demonstrates Paine's commitment to foundational liberal values of individual freedom and moral equality. In response to Paine's "Agrarian Justice", Thomas Spence wrote "The Rights of Infants" wherein Spence argues that Paine's plan was not beneficial to impoverished people because landlords would just keep raising land prices, further enriching themselves rather than giving the commonwealth an equal chance.
Religious viewsBefore his arrest and imprisonment in France, knowing that he would probably be arrested and executed, following in the tradition of Deism#The rise of British deism (1690–1740), early 18th-century British Deism Paine wrote the first part of '' '' (1793–1794). Paine's religious views as expressed in ''The Age of Reason'' caused quite a stir in religious society, effectively splitting the religious groups into two major factions: those who wanted church disestablishment, and the Christians who wanted Christianity to continue having a strong social influence. About his own religious beliefs, Paine wrote in ''The Age of Reason'': Though there is no evidence Paine himself was a Freemason,Shai Afsai,
The opinions I have advanced ... are the effect of the most clear and long-established conviction that the Bible and the Testament are impositions upon the world, that the fall of man, the account of Jesus Christ being the Son of God, and of his dying to appease the wrath of God, and of salvation, by that strange means, are all fabulous inventions, dishonorable to the wisdom and power of the Almighty; that the only true religion is, by which I then meant, and mean now, the belief of one God, and an imitation of his moral character, or the practice of what are called moral virtuesand that it was upon this only (so far as religion is concerned) that I rested all my hopes of happiness hereafter. So say I nowand so help me God.
LegacyHistorian Jack P. Greene stated: Harvey J. Kaye wrote that through Paine, through his pamphlets and catchphrases such as "The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth," "We have it in our power to begin the world over again," and "These are the times that try men's souls" did more than move Americans to declare their independence: John Stevenson argues that in the early 1790s, numerous radical political societies were formed throughout England and Wales in which Paine's writings provided "a boost to the self-confidence of those seeking to participate in politics for the first time." In its immediate effects, Gary Kates argues, "Paine's vision unified Philadelphia merchants, British artisans, French peasants, Dutch reformers, and radical intellectuals from Boston to Berlin in one great movement." His writings in the long term inspired Philosophical radicals, philosophic and working-class radicalism (historical), radicals in Britain and United States. American liberalism, Liberals, libertarianism, libertarians, left-libertarianism, left-libertarians, Feminism, feminists, democratic socialists, social democrats, anarchists, Freethought, free thinkers and Progressivism, progressives often claim him as an intellectual ancestor. Paine's critique of institutionalized religion and advocacy of rational thinking influenced many British freethinkers in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as William Cobbett, George Holyoake, Charles Bradlaugh, Christopher Hitchens and Bertrand Russell. The quote "Lead, follow, or get out of the way" is widely but incorrectly attributed to Paine. It can be found nowhere in his published works.
Abraham LincolnIn 1835, when he was 26 years old, Abraham Lincoln wrote a defense of Paine's deism. A political associate, Samuel Hill, burned the manuscript to save Lincoln's political career. Historian Roy Basler, the editor of Lincoln's papers, said Paine had a strong influence on Lincoln's style:
No other writer of the eighteenth century, with the exception of Jefferson, parallels more closely the temper or gist of Lincoln's later thought. In style, Paine above all others affords the variety of eloquence which, chastened and adapted to Lincoln's own mood, is revealed in Lincoln's formal writings.
Thomas EdisonThe inventor Thomas Edison said:
I have always regarded Paine as one of the greatest of all Americans. Never have we had a sounder intelligence in this republic.... It was my good fortune to encounter Thomas Paine's works in my boyhood... it was, indeed, a revelation to me to read that great thinker's views on political and theological subjects. Paine educated me, then, about many matters of which I had never before thought. I remember, very vividly, the flash of enlightenment that shone from Paine's writings, and I recall thinking, at that time, 'What a pity these works are not today the schoolbooks for all children!' My interest in Paine was not satisfied by my first reading of his works. I went back to them time and again, just as I have done since my boyhood days.
South AmericaIn 1811, Venezuelan translator Manuel Garcia de Sena published a book in Philadelphia that consisted mostly of Spanish translations of several of Paine's most important works.John Street, ''Artigas and the Emancipation of Uruguay'' (London: Cambridge University Press, 1959), 178–86. The book also included translations of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the U.S. Constitution and the constitutions of five U.S. states. It subsequently circulated widely in South America and through it Uruguayan national hero José Gervasio Artigas became familiar with and embraced Paine's ideas. In turn, many of Artigas's writings drew directly from Paine's, including the ''Instructions of 1813'', which Uruguayans consider to be one of their country's most important constitutional documents, and was one of the earliest writings to articulate a principled basis for an identity independent of Buenos Aires.
MemorialsThe first and longest-standing memorial to Paine is the carved and inscribed 12-foot marble column in New Rochelle, New York, organized and funded by publisher, educator and reformer Gilbert Vale (1791–1866) and raised in 1839 by the American sculptor and architect John Frazee (sculptor), John Frazee, the Thomas Paine Monument (see image below). New Rochelle is also the original site of Thomas Paine Cottage, Thomas Paine's Cottage, which along with a 320-acre (130 ha) farm were presented to Paine in 1784 by act of the New York State Legislature for his services in the American Revolution. The same site is the home of the Thomas Paine National Historical Association, Thomas Paine Memorial Museum. In the 20th century, Joseph L. Lewis, Joseph Lewis, longtime president of the Freethinkers of America and an ardent Paine admirer, was instrumental in having larger-than-life-sized statues of Paine erected in each of the three countries with which the revolutionary writer was associated. The first, created by Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum, was erected in Paris just before World War II began but not formally dedicated until 1948. It depicts Paine standing before the French to plead for the life of King Louis XVI. The second, sculpted in 1950 by Georg J. Lober, was erected near Paine's one time home in Morristown, New Jersey. It shows a seated Paine using a drum-head as a makeshift table. The third, sculpted by Sir Charles Wheeler (sculptor), Charles Wheeler, President of the Royal Academy, was erected in 1964 in Paine's birthplace, , England. With a quill pen in his right hand and an inverted copy of ''The Rights of Man'' in his left, it occupies a prominent spot on King Street. Thomas Paine was ranked No. 34 in the ''100 Greatest Britons'' 2002 extensive Nationwide poll conducted by the BBC.
In popular culture* The 1982 French-Italian film ''That Night in Varennes'' is about a fictional meeting of Giacomo Casanova, Casanova, Chevalier de Seingalt (played by Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni), Nicolas Edmé Restif de la Bretonne, Countess Sophie de la Borde and Thomas Paine (played by American actor Harvey Keitel) as they ride in a carriage a few hours behind the carriage carrying the King and Queen of France, and Marie Antoinette, on Flight to Varennes, their attempt to escape from revolutionary France in 1791. *Jack Shepherd (actor), Jack Shepherd's 1989 stage play ''In Lambeth (play), In Lambeth'' dramatized a visit by Thomas Paine to the Lambeth home of William Blake, William and Catherine Blake (wife of William Blake), Catherine Blake in 1789. *In 1995, the English folk singer Graham Moore released a song called ''Tom Paine's Bones'' on an album of the same name. The song has since been covered by a number of other artists, including Dick Gaughan, Grace Petrie and The Trials of Cato, Trials of Cato. * In 2005, Trevor Griffiths published ''These are the Times: A Life of Thomas Paine'', originally written as a screenplay for Richard Attenborough, Richard Attenborough Productions. Although the film was not made, the play was broadcast as a two-part drama on BBC Radio 4 in 2008, with a repeat in 2012. In 2009, Griffiths adapted the screenplay for a production entitled ''A New World: A Life of Thomas Paine, A New World'' at Shakespeare's Globe theatre on London's South Bank. * In 2009, Paine's life was dramatized in the play ''Thomas Paine Citizen of the World'', produced for the "Tom Paine 200 Celebrations" festivalTom Paine Legacy
See also* Asset-based egalitarianism * British philosophy * Contributions to liberal theory * Liberty * List of American philosophers * List of British philosophers * List of civil rights leaders * Society of the Friends of Truth
Sources* * . Regarded by British authorities as the standard biography. * * * *. Valuable blend of historiographical essay and biographical/analytical treatment. * *. Excellent analysis of Paine's thought. *. Long hailed as the definitive biography, and still valuable. * *. The standard monograph treating Paine's thought and work with regard to America. * * * Greene, Jack P. "Paine, America, and the 'Modernization' Of Political Consciousness," ''Political Science Quarterly'' 93#1 (1978) pp 73–9
Fiction* (historical novel, though sometimes mistaken as biography).
Primary sources*, [//archive.org/details/writingsthomasp00paingoog E'book] * *. Authoritative and scholarly edition containing ''Common Sense,'' the essays comprising the ''American Crisis'' series, ''Rights of Man,'' ''The Age of Reason,'' ''Agrarian Justice,'' and selected briefer writings, with authoritative texts and careful annotation. * A complete edition of Paine's writings, on the model of Eric Foner's edition for the Library of America, is badly needed. Until then Philip Foner's two-volume edition is a serviceable substitute. Volume I contains the major works, and volume II contains shorter writings, both published essays and a selection of letters, but confusingly organized; in addition, Foner's attributions of writings to Paine have come in for some criticism in that Foner may have included writings that Paine edited but did not write and omitted some writings that later scholars have attributed to Paine.
Works by Thomas Paine* * * *