Thomas Paine

Thomas PAINE (1737-1809), son of a Quaker staymaker of Thetford; being dismissed as an excisemen in 1774, for agitating for an increase in excisement ́s pay, at the suggestion of his friend Benjamin Franklin, he sailed for America, where he published in 1776 his pamphlet "Common Sense" and "The Crisis" (1783) encouraging American independence and resistance to England; he also wrote against slavery and in favour of the emancipation of women. In 1787 he returned to England and published in 1791 the first part of "The Rights of Man" in replay to Burke ́s "Reflections on the Revolution in France". The second part appeared in 1792, when, alerted by Blake of an impending arrest, Paine left for France, where he was warmly received and elected a member of the Convention. However, he opposed the execution of Louis XVI and was imprisoned for nearly a year, and narrowly escaped the guillotine. "The Age of Reason" (1793), an attack on Christianity and the Bible from a Deist point of view, increased the violent hatred with which he was regarded in England, where his effigy and books were burned. He returned to America in 1802, where his views on religion and his opposition to Washington had made him unpopular.

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The Writings Of Thomas Paine