Thomas Paine

Essay by meneednewnameHigh School, 10th gradeA+, June 2004

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Thomas Paine was one of the most influential writers and thinkers during the time of the American Revolution. Paine was born January 29, 1737 at Thetford, Norfolk in England, as the son of a Quaker. He had a short basic education and started to work as an officer of the excise. He was twice dismissed from his post, and in 1774 he met Benjamin Franklin in London, who advised him to immigrate to America. Paine landed at Philadelphia on November 30, 1774, and he started a new life as a publicist.

Paine began publishing works in the spring of 1775 with his first being African Slavery in America, which criticized slavery in America as being both unjust and inhumane. At that time he had also become the co-editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine, which was based in Philadelphia. When he had arrived in Philadelphia, he sensed the rise of tension and the spirit of rebellion that was steadily mounting in the Colonies after the Boston Tea Party and the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

In Paine's mind the colonists had all the right to revolt against a government that was imposing taxes on them, but not giving them the right of representation in Parliament at Westminster. To him he felt there was no reason for the Colonies to stay dependent on England. On January 10, 1776, Paine formulated all his ideas on American independence in his most famous work, the pamphlet Common Sense.

Common Sense was an extremely influential document that swayed the public opinion in favor of independence. He felt that, sooner or later, independence from England would have to come because America had lost touch with the mother country. In his words, all of the arguments for separation from England were all based on nothing more than simple...