Portrait of Thomas Paine.
Portrait of Thomas Paine.

Thomas Paine Quick Facts

February 9, 1737–June 8, 1809

Facts About Thomas Paine

Born January 29, 1737, Thetford, Norfolk, England

Wrote, Case of the Officers of Excise, his earliest known prose composition and first important pamphlet, in 1772

Moved to Philadelphia in 1774

Became editor Pennsylvania Magazine in 1775

Wrote anti-slavery essay African Slavery in America in 1775

Published the pamphlet Common Sense in 1776

Enlisted in Continental Army in 1776

Published American Crisis I, the first of 16 American Crisis papers, in 1776. This work contains the famous line, “These are the times that try men’s souls.”

Congress appointed Paine its Secretary to Committee on Foreign Affairs in 1777

Resigned as Foreign Affairs Secretary in 1779, as result of Silas Deane affair

Returned to Europe in 1787, dividing his time between England and France

Published part one of the Rights of Man, his reply to Edmund Burke’s denunciation of the French Revolution, in 1791

Published part two of the Rights of Man in 1792

Condemned for his radical views, Paine was declared an outlaw and forced to leave England in 1792

Became a French citizen and was elected as a member of the National Assembly in France, in 1792

Helped write the Constitution of the Republic of France in 1792

Published part one of The Age of Reason in 1793

Imprisoned by Jacobins in 1793, during the Reign of Terror, for his moderate views regarding the treatment of Louis XVI

Released from eleven-month imprisonment in 1793, with the help of James Monroe, the U.S. Ambassador to France

Published part two of The Age of Reason in 1795

Returned to New York in 1802

Died June 8, 1809, New York City

Buried on his farm in New Rochelle, New York

Paine’s remains were lost in an ill-conceived effort to inter him in England in 1819

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Thomas Paine Quick Facts
  • Coverage February 9, 1737–June 8, 1809
  • Author
  • Keywords thomas paine, founding father, common sense, rights of man, age of reason
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date September 22, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021
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