External Links for Thomas Paine
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"These are the times that try men's souls." This simple quotation from Founding Father Thomas Paine's The Crisis not only describes the beginnings of the American Revolution, but also the life of Paine himself. Throughout most of his life, his writings inspired passion, but also brought him great criticism. He communicated the ideas of the Revolution to common farmers as easily as to intellectuals, creating prose that stirred the hearts of the fledgling United States.
Thomas Paine, 1737-1809
The radical propagandist and voice of the common man, Thomas Paine, was born in Thetford in Norfolk on January 29, 1737. His father, Joseph, was a poor Quaker corset maker who tried to provide his son with an education at the local grammar school but eventually was forced to apprentice him to his trade. Paine was unable to accept this occupation.
Historical Documents: Thomas Paine
Links to the original text of many of Thomas Paine's works
Thomas Paine's Common Sense
Published anonymously by Thomas Paine in January of 1776, Common Sense was an instant best-seller, both in the colonies and in Europe. It went through several editions in Philadelphia, and was republished in all parts of United America. Because of it, Paine became internationally famous.
Common Sense by Thomas Paine
Published in 1776, Common Sense
Thomas Paine Friends, Inc.
Chartered in 2002, Thomas Paine Friends, Inc. strives to renew public recognition of the great defender of liberty, justice and human rights. Arriving in British-ruled North America, Paine joined the struggle for independence, sovereignty and democratic institutions. Throughout his life he held to the noblest of principles, dedicating himself to the common good and the right of free expression. The writings he produced provide us with a remarkable set of principles upon which to construct just societies.
A Brief Chronology of the Life of Thomas Paine
A detailed chronology of Thomas Paine's life.
Thomas Paine Society
One of the strongest cases made in history for the "power of the pen" are the collective works of Thomas Paine. The son of a Quaker father and an Anglican mother, Thomas Paine was born January 29, 1737, at Thetford in Norfork, England. His father was a poor corset maker which gave Thomas no option beyond a free school where only a basic education was available. However, as Thomas Paine wisely stated; "Every person of learning is finally his own teacher."
Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
Thomas Paine was born in Thetford (just north of Cambridge) the son of a Quaker corset maker. His entire career, up to his age 37, had been a succession of failures and frustrations; he had from the beginning experienced extreme poverty, privation, and drudgery. With letters in hand from an American he had met in London, one, Benjamin Franklin, Paine set off for Philadelphia arriving there in December of 1774. Little did Paine know how fortunate he was to have a letter of introduction signed by Ben Franklin; he was soon employed as the editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine. He wrote, condemning it all: of Negro slavery, of the political condition of women, of the lack of copy right laws, of the cruelty to animals, of the custom of dueling, and of war as a means to settle international disputes.
Paine, the son of a Quaker corset maker, was born in Thetford in Norfolk on 29th January, 1737. After being educated at the local grammar school Paine became an apprentice corset maker in Kent. This was followed by work as an exciseman in Lincolnshire and a school teacher in London.
Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
The most important political tract of the Revolution was written not by a lawyer or university-educated philosopher, but by a former corset maker. This tract, Thomas Paine's Common Sense, appeared in January 1776, when most Americans were hoping for a reconciliation with Britain. Common Sense argued in clear and forceful language that the time had come for the colonists to declare their independence. Their liberty would never be safe while Britain governed them, he argued, because the "so much boasted constitution of England" included two "constitutional errors": monarchy and hereditary rule. Paine urged the Americans to create a new form of government - a modern republic - based entirely on popular consent. Within a few months, 200,000 copies of the pamphlet were in circulation.
Selected Writings of Thomas Paine
Full text transcriptions of selected works of Thomas Paine
The Contents of Thomas Paine's Writings
Online edition of The Complete Writings of Thomas Paine published by Citadel Press, New York, 1945
Britain and the French Revolution
When the radical writer Thomas Paine published his book Rights of Man, in 1791-2, it caused a sensation. A powerful and eloquent defence of the French Revolution, it praised the downfall of the French ruling classes and urged the establishment of a democracy and the acceptance of the "universal right of citizenship." Paine's book questioned the traditional values of Britain and his message was clear: people didn't have to accept the way things were.
Chronology Table of Thomas Paine's Writings
A complete chronology of the writings of Thomas Paine