Thomas Pain – History
Born of an Anglican Father and a Quaker mother in Thetford England, Thomas Paine, at the age of 37, emigrated, to the American colonies on the advice of Benjamin Franklin in 1774. Within a couple of mounts of his arrival, he became the editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine. A year later in January 1776 he anonymously published a bestselling pro-independence pamphlet, Common Sense. This work of rhetoric explained complex ideas in a language and stile that the common colonist could readily understand and support. For this, some revere him as the “Father of the American Revolution.” To inspire colonists in the early part of the war Paine published a series of pamphlets entitled The Crisis. “These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.” begins the first pamphlet. General George Washington had these pamphlets read aloud to his troops to encourage them in their struggles.
Some cite that Thomas Paine is largely responsible for the acquisition of funds from France that allowed the formation of the Bank of North America, which funded a large portion of the war effort. In this endeavor he gained several friends and acquaintances in France that no doubt served his activities in a later chapter of his life.
His passionate rhetoric not only cut at the colonial ties with Britten but also with his personal ties with those in the forming nation, and in 1787 he returned to London. He lived quietly for a while, but another ember in Europe began to spark, and his pen could not, but add fuel - The French Revolution. The Rights of Man, and other works professing the evils of monarchies in general curried him no favor with the authorities in England. So having been granted honorary French citizenship, he took up residence in France. There he was elected to the National Convention, though he did not speak the language. Thomas Paine’s writings continued to inspire and threaten those in power and those who aspired to it. He continued to write even while imprisoned and awaiting execution. Fortune and providence prevailed and he escaped the guillotine, eventually emigrating back to the infant United States. His writings continued to cut away at the cords of power, and alas at the cords of his own popularity and friendships. In June of 1809, at the age of 73 he passed in to history, only 6 mourners came to his funeral. “ The pen is mightier than the sword” would be writ 30 years later by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Thomas Paine’s pen proceeded and ushered the sword of revolution and the plowshares of a new way of governing.