american flag                            Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

thomas paineBorn in England, Thomas Paine working variously as a corset-maker, privateer, and tax officer early in life, and nearly landing in debtor’s prison. In 1774 on the advice of Benjamin Franklin he emigrated to America and worked as an editor for the Pennsylvania Gazette. Finding his calling as an outspoken advocate of American independence, in January 1776, he published Common Sense, a pamphlet that gave full-throated encouragement to the Revolution from the perspective of a newly-arrived Englishman. It became an instant best-seller and was followed later that year by The Crisis, an incendiary call to arms written in plain and compelling language. During the war, he served as an aide to Nathanael Greene and was later instrumental in securing France’s financial support for the United States.

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