Thomas Paine, ( 1737- 1809), was born in the town of Thetford, Norfolk, England, the son of a Quaker farmer, Joseph Pain and an Anglican housewife, Frances Cocke. He was something of a drifter in his youth, he joined the Methodist Church and was a preacher himself for awhile, he served as an exciseman, corset- maker, tried his hand at privateering with no luck and took a job as an English teacher for awhile. He loved taking part in philosophical conversations and during these talks, he developed his republican political ideals and his passion for free and independent thinking https://fee.org/articles/thomas-paine-passionate-pamphleteer-for-liberty/.
He arrived in the American Colonies in 1774 and quickly set up shop in Philadelphia, publishing pamphlets denouncing slavery and declared his side with the American Revolutionaries after the Battle of Lexington in 1775. In his view, the Colonies were perfectly entitled to revolt against a government that they had no representation in. The three books that Thomas Paine is best known for are ” Common Sense,” ” The Rights of Man” and ” The Age of Reason.” ” Common Sense,” published in 1776, stated that the Colonies’ independence from Britain must come, that monarchy was inherently self- serving and that a representative government was the best kind. This book was popular in both the Colonies and in France. It changed the course of the Revolution in that all further hope of reconciliation with the British crown was abandoned in favor of complete independence
Thomas Paine served in the Continental Army during the course of the War and he published sixteen pamphlets that became entitled ” The American Crisis Papers,” published between 1776 and 1783
These pamphlets supported the Patriot cause and argued for the justice of American independence from the government of Great Britain. In 1791, two years after the French revolution broke out, Thomas Paine published ” The Rights of Man,” both in response to an English politician, Edmund Burke and in support of the ideals of the French Revolution. Edmund Burke had published a work denouncing the goals of the Revolution, which Thomas Paine just as ardently defended. Paine denounced the concept of hereditary power and spoke of the despotisms in society that spring up from the ” hereditary despotism” of the monarch, hence wearying the population and sparking political change. Thomas Paine spoke of Civil Rights springing from the natural rights all people have by right of birth and that no body in the world had the right to circumvent or ignore those rights
Thomas Paine’s theological beliefs were laid out and published in his ” The Age of Reason,” which was published in three parts.. the first part was published in 1794, the second in 1795 and the third part was published in 1807, a couple of years before this great ( but impoverished) man’s death. Paine was a Deist who actively rejected the Bible as a book of unfounded superstitions that were founded on earlier superstitions, as he lays out in his book. He believed that “revelation” was irrelevant to anyone except the person that the ” revelation” was made and that the true Word of God was found in Nature
Thomas died in poverty despite his popularity as a writer and his ideas were roundly rejected by the Christian clergy and the vast majority of the American population. He was refused burial in a Quaker cemetery and was interred elsewhere.