"No writer has exceeded Paine in ease and familiarity of style; in perspicuity of expression, happiness of elucidation, and in simple unassuming language." - Thomas Jefferson Join us for one of the most historically significant, Earth-shattering documents ever written; one that pushed American colonists toward Revolution and led to the formation of the United States. Published in 1776, Thomas Paine challenges the authority of the British monarchy to rule over America. Using plain language, Paine spoke directly to the common people, stating his case for independence, actions that still reverberate today.
About the Author
Thomas Paine was born on February 9, 1737 in Thetford, Norfolk, England. At that time, education was not compulsory, but he attended Thetford Grammar School from 1744 to 1749. When he was thirteen, he became an apprentice corsetmaker with his father, then a privateer until 1759, when he opened a shop in Sandwich, Kent. He married Mary Lambert that same year, but she died in childbirth. For the next several years, he had a number of other jobs, including a schoolteacher. By 1768, he became interested in politics, and married Elizabeth Ollive in 1771. They separated in 1774, and he moved to London, where he met Benjamin Franklin. Franklin talked him into leaving for America that same year, but became deathly ill with typhoid fever on the voyage, taking nearly six weeks to recover. Upon his recovery, he took an oath, becoming a citizen of Pennsylvania, then became editor of "Pennsylvania Magazine." In early 1776, he published "Common Sense," which was circulated to around 500,000 of the two million inhabitants. This provided a needed spark, spurring resentment of the Crown, recruitment into the Continental Army, and enthusiasm for a free America. In 1777, Paine became secretary of the Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs. In 1781, he accompanied Colonel John Laurens to France on a secret mission and returned with money to help fund the Revolution. Thomas returned to London in 1787 and became involved with the French Revolution in 1790, selling nearly a million copies of "Rights of Man" in 1791. He was indicted for seditious libel, tried in absentia and found guilty, though he was never executed. Elected to the National Convention in France, he was arrested in 1793, and again scheduled to be executed, but released in 1794, due to James Monroe. By 1800, he was conspiring with Napoleon to invade England, but when Napoleon revealed himself to be a dictator, he returned to the United States at the invitation of Thomas Jefferson. Paine died on June 8, 1809, at the age of 72, in Greenwich Village, New York City. His remains were buried under a walnut tree on his farm, but dug up in 1819 to be transported to England. They were found twenty years later, still in the U. S., but later lost.