Thomas Paine

By Akhil, Jacob, Pratheek, Sai

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Family History

Thomas Paine was born to a Quaker father and Anglican mother in England, 1737. His father, a corseter, wanted Paine to accomplish great feats; however, he had failed school by age 12 and instead began to work under his father. He received enough education to read and write; however, he received no formal education. He later failed at creating corsets like his father, and so he became tax officer in England in 1768. Both Paine's wife and child died during childbirth.

Political Affiliations and Contributions

Thomas Paine was a patriot who advocated not merely for revolt against taxes, but for independence from Britain completely. He helped change the opinion of the masses with his writing. He first came to America on the recommendation from Benjamin Franklin, and once he arrived, he began to develop his ideals of revolution and justice primarily by condemning African slave labor. Soon he learned about the conflict the colonists were having with England, and following the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, Paine argued that independence was not just gratuity, it was a necessity. In 1776, he transcribed his idea of revolution onto a pamphlet, which he named “Common Sense”. If the battles were the match, “Common Sense” was the spark that ignited the American Revolutionary War. American colonists were persuaded by the argument Paine posed and they decided to forgo the solution presented in the article ardently. Streets were filled with more than 500,000 copies of Paine's pamphlet that urged independence Soon the recruitment of the continental army began, which Paine volunteered in, not as a soldier but as a motivator. He wrote 16 “crisis” papers between 1776 and 1783 that inspired the soldiers and led them to victory. His “Common Sense” essentially paved the way for the constitution on July 4th, 1776, and colonial independence from British rule.


Definition:The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness is defined as integrity.

Origin:The origin is from the late Middle English (sense 2): from French intégrité or Latin integritas, from integer 'intact'.

Thomas Paine had a great moral values and principles that show us his integrity. As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. In the 'Rights of Man', Thomas Paine makes it clear that according to him, “by the simple operation of constructing government on the principles of society and the rights of man, every difficulty retires”. He also opposed the hereditary government-or belief of dictatorial ship is necessary, in his “Rights of man”. The “Rights of Man” brought into light the moral principles that gave a push to the movement for separation from England.

In “Common Sense”, Thomas Paine argues for American independence. His argument begins with more general, theoretical reflections about government and religion, and then progresses onto the specifics of the colonial situation. Society, according to Paine, is everything constructive and good that people join together to accomplish. Government, on the other hand, is an institution whose sole purpose is to protect us from our own vices. Government has its origins in the evil of man and is therefore a necessary evil at best. Paine says that government's sole purpose is to protect life, liberty and property, and that a government should be judged solely on the basis of the extent to which it accomplishes this goal. He then proceeds onto the hereditary of the government criticizing and opposing it.


Definition: the state of being vested with the rights, privileges, and duties of a citizen.

Origin: 1605-15; citizen + -ship

Paine was born in England so by default most people would think his citizenship would be directed towards England, but it was not. At age 37 he rebelled against his homeland and moved to the American colonies and helped start a revolution with them against England. Later on he was considered an outlaw of England for showing his anti-monarchist views against England after writing "The Rights of Man”. Thomas Paine did not have a strong citizenship in England, but he did in America.

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"Common Sense" by Thomas Paine - Sparked the Revolution