, inventor, intellectual
, and one of the Founding Fathers
of the United States. He has been called "a corsetmaker
by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination."
Born in Thetford
, in the English county of Norfolk
, Paine emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 in time to participate in the American Revolution
. His principal contributions were the powerful, widely read pamphlet Common Sense
(1776), the all-time best-selling American book that advocated colonial America's independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain
, and The American Crisis
(1776–1783), a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series.
I speak an open and disinterested language, dictated by no passion but that of humanity. To me, who have not only refused offers, because I thought them improper, but have declined rewards I might with reputation have accepted, it is no wonder that meanness and imposition appear disgustful. Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good..
Man is not the enemy of man but through the medium of a false system of government.
Time makes more converts than reason. (the Introduction)
Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first a patron, the last a punisher. (Opening Line)
Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour; a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.
Who the Author of this Production is, is wholly unnecessary to the Public, as the Object for Attention is the DOCTRINE ITSELF, not the MAN. Yet it may not be unnecessary to say, That he is unconnected with any Party, and under no sort of Influence public or private, but the influence of reason and principle.
Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.