Thomas Paine

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Thomas Paine (born Thomas Pain; February 9, 1737 [O.S. January 29, 1736] – June 8, 1809) was an English-born American Founding Father, political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary. He authored Common Sense (1776) and The American Crisis (1776–1783), two of the most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, and he helped to inspire the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Great Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era ideals of human rights.Paine was born in Thetford, Norfolk and emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 with the help of Benjamin Franklin, arriving just in time to participate in the American Revolution. Virtually every American Patriot read his 47-page pamphlet Common Sense, which catalyzed the call for independence from Great Britain. The American Crisis was a pro-independence pamphlet series. Paine lived in France for most of the 1790s, becoming deeply involved in the French Revolution. While in England, he wrote Rights of Man (1791), in part a defense of the French Revolution against its critics. His attacks on Anglo-Irish conservative writer Edmund Burke led to a trial and conviction in absentia in England in 1792 for the crime of seditious libel.

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