Paine, Thomas - Research Article from Americans at War

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Paine, Thomas

(b. January 29, 1737; d. June 8, 1809) Political pamphleteer, radical advocate of American independence.

Thomas Paine, who was born into a Quaker family in Thetford, England, was a soldier in the Continental Army and author of Common Sense, the most influential pamphlet calling for American independence. He was a radical advocate of republican principles in both the American and French Revolutions.

Paine left the local grammar school at age thirteen, became an apprentice in his father's corset factory, went to sea briefly at age sixteen, returned to apprenticeship, and later became a tax collector but was dismissed from that job. Impoverished, separated from his wife, and with few prospects, Paine immigrated to Philadelphia in 1774 at the urging of Benjamin Franklin whom he had met by chance in London.

Paine became a printer and political propagandist, advocating, among other things, the abolition of slavery. In 1774 he became involved in the...

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This section contains 858 words
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Paine, Thomas from Americans at War. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.