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Thomas Paine, American Patriot

Thomas Paine, American Patriot


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Thomas Paine (1737-1809) was an American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and one of the Founding Fathers of the USA. His pamphlet, Common Sense, inspired people to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. The pamphlet explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence in clear, simple language. It was published anonymously and became an immediate sensation. Paine lived in France for most of the 1790s, becoming deeply involved in the French Revolution. He wrote Rights of Man (1791), in part a defense of the French Revolution against its critics. In December 1793, he was arrested and imprisoned in Paris, then released in 1794. He became notorious because of his pamphlet The Age of Reason (1793-94), in which he advocated deism, promoted reason and free thought, and argued against institutionalized religion in general and Christian doctrine in particular. In 1802, he returned to America.

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