Besides being Trivia Tuesday, January 29 is also Thomas Paine Day. So let’s take a brief look at Mr. Paine.
- Born in England on January 29, 1737.
- Flunked out of school by age 12, so worked for his father as a corseter (one who makes corsets). Failed at this too and quit at age 19.
- Met Benjamin Franklin in 1774, who sponsored his move to Philadelphia (in the colonies) that same year.
- Wrote Common Sense in 1776 to advocate for American colonies independence from England.
- From 1776-1783, he wrote The American Crisis, which helped inspire the Continental Army.
- Having moved back to England, he wrote The Rights of Man in 1792. This work was considered as anti-monarchist. To avoid behind arrested, Paine fled to France.
- Paine was imprisoned in France in 1793 because he did not support the execution of King Louis XVI. While in prison, Paine wrote the first part of The Age of Reason.
- Thanks to the efforts of James Monroe (then the U.S. Minister to France), Paine was spared execution and released from prison.
- Paine remained in France until 1802 when Thomas Jefferson invited him to return to America.
- Due to his anti-religious views in The Age of Reason, Paine was ostracized. He died a poor and lonely man in 1809 in New York city.
Paine is often quoted, but I am guessing many people don’t realize they are speaking or paraphrasing his words (though Romney did in 2012). And here are a few of his famous quotes.
Government, even in its best state, is a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.
Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and keep order in the world as well as property… Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived the use of them.
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it the superficial appearance of being right.
Character is much easier kept than recovered.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything it’s value.
Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
It is error only, not the truth, that shrinks from inquiry.
These are the times that try men’s souls.
The greatest remedy for anger is delay.
The most formidable weapon against errors of any kind is reason.
It is the utmost danger to society to make it (religion) a party in political disputes.
Where is Thomas Paine when you need him?