January 29th 1737: Thomas Paine born
On this day in 1737 the English revolutionary Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, Norfolk. Paine’s political writings in the 1776 pamphlet ‘Common Sense’ encouraged the American colonists to declare independence from Great Britain. Before, the Americans had just desired more autonomy, but Paine’s writings, which were written in a style which appealed to the common man, radicalised their demands. Paine then lived in France and was very involved in the Revolution, writing ‘Rights of Man’ in 1791. Paine died in America in 1809, aged 72.
Mr Paine was an idealist, a man with a sensible vision of the future and understanding of how politics truly worked. I’ve read his most important works and specially enjoyed his defence of the French Revolution versus the ramblings of Edmund Burke and his stubborn support of the British crown. However, “The Age of Reason” ultimately sunk his career because the American public was not ready to embrace his deistic views and how he tarnished and exposed the vitriol spewed by organised religion at the time.