Paine, Thomas (1737-1809)

Political radical and revolutionary pamphleteer.

Failed at various occupations in England. Emigrated to Philadelphia, bearing letters of introduction from Franklin (1774). Began his career as a journalist, contributing pieces to area magazines and newspapers.

Published the famous pamphlet Common Sense (January 1776). His success as a pamphleteer led to appointment by Congress as secretary to the committee for foreign affairs (1777-79).

Resigned under pressure after making injudicious public statements concerning the Beaumarchais-Lee-Deane affair.

Went to France to procure money and supplies for Americans (1781).

Lived in England and was ostracized as a radical (1787-92). Settled in France (1792- 1802). Imprisoned during the Robespierre regime.

Returned to America (1802). Lived in impoverished and lonely circumstances until his death.

Born in Thetford, England. Married in 1759 to Mary Lambert; in 1771 to Elizabeth Ollive.