Thomas Paine

Nicole Messer, Connor Galloway, Allan Tian

Family History

  • Born and raised in Thetford, Norfolk, England.
  • His father, Joseph Pain, was a Quaker and Anglican.

Political Affiliations/Loyalties

  • Liberalism, radicalism, republicanism.
  • His book "Age of Reason" (1793) advocated deism, promoted freethinking and reason.
  • It argued against institutionalized religion and Christian doctrines.
  • Deeply part of the French Revolution, and defended it.
  • Ordained minister of Church of England.

Contribution to the development and independence of the colonies

  • His main contributions were the influential pamphlets Common Sense (1776), the best-selling American book that promoted colonial America's independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and The American Crisis (1776–83), a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series.

  • John Adams said, "Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain."

  • In October, Thomas Paine emigrated from Great Britain to the American colonies, and arrived in Philadelphia on November 30, 1774.

  • The pamphlet surfaced in January 1776, after the Revolution had started. It was passed around, and often read aloud, which helped spread the idea of republicanism, creating enthusiasm for separation from Britain, and encouraged recruitment for the Continental Army.

  • Paine's great contribution was in initiating a public debate about independence, which had previously been pretty much ignored or silenced.

  • 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 Thoughts on Government in 1776 to promote a another approach to republicanism.

  • In late 1776, Paine published The American Crisis pamphlet series to inspire the Americans in their battles against the British army.

Thomas Paine - Common Sense


Integrity is the quality of being honest, uncorrupted, and having strong moral principles.

  • By today's standards Thomas Paine displays integrity; he was honest and stuck with unwavering beliefs.

  • Thomas Paine published texts that voiced what he believed was right, such as: “Common Sense” and The Rights of Man.

  • The articles scrutinized the oppressive rule that was forced upon the society at that time. This was dangerous, but Paine followed through with the text publications.

  • Paine was also a supporter of anti-slavery. He’s attributed with writing “African Slavery in America”, which is credited to be the first proposal of abolishing slavery.


Citizenship are the rights, privileges and duties a recognized subject of a state has (citizen).

  • Thomas Paine did have a certain degree of citizenship, but it is not a black or white answer.

  • He clearly had and used the rights of a citizen by publishing “Common Sense” and other works.

  • He also did his duties as a citizen by rallying to the cause of independence; he had traveled with soldiers and through his works had inspired the American soldiers.

  • Whether he had the privileges of a citizen is debatable.

  • Paine has written a few controversial works including, but not limited to: “African Slavery in America”, which sparked backlash from slave-owners; The Age of Reason, a book that scrutinizes organized religion that brought hate from people of faith; and “Common Sense”, which caused much criticism from federalists.

  • Such works stripped him of respect from many peers to the point that his contributions to the independence efforts were censored.

  • At the time, whether he had the privileges of a citizen or not was questionable; only 6 mourners came to his funeral.