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Thomas Paine

Birthdate: 9. February 1737
Date of death: 8. June 1809
Other names: Пейн Томас

Thomas Paine was an English-born American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary. One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, he authored the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, and he inspired the rebels in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called "a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination."

Born in Thetford in the English county of Norfolk, Paine migrated 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 rebel read his powerful pamphlet Common Sense , proportionally the all-time best-selling American title, which crystallized the rebellious demand for independence from Great Britain. His The American Crisis was a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series. Common Sense was so influential that John Adams said, "Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain."

Paine lived in France for most of the 1790s, becoming deeply involved in the French Revolution. He wrote Rights of Man , 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 1792 for the crime of seditious libel. In 1792, despite not being able to speak French, he was elected to the French National Convention. The Girondists regarded him as an ally. Consequently, the Montagnards, especially Robespierre, regarded him as an enemy.

In December 1793, he was arrested and was taken to Luxembourg Prison in Paris. While in prison, he continued to work on The Age of Reason . Future President James Monroe used his diplomatic connections to get Paine released in November 1794. He became notorious because of his pamphlets The Age of Reason, in which he advocated deism, promoted reason and free thought, and argued against institutionalized religion in general and Christian doctrine in particular. He also published the pamphlet Agrarian Justice , discussing the origins of property, and introduced the concept of a guaranteed minimum income. In 1802, he returned to the U.S. where he died on June 8, 1809. Only six people attended his funeral as he had been ostracized for his ridicule of Christianity.

Works

Rights of Man
Rights of Man
Thomas Paine
The Age of Reason
The Age of Reason
Thomas Paine
Common Sense
Common Sense
Thomas Paine

Quotes Thomas Paine

„The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.“

—  Thomas Paine

Source: A Letter Addressed to the Abbe Raynal on the Affairs of North America

„Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.“

—  Thomas Paine, book Rights of Man

Part 2.7 Chapter V. Ways and means of improving the condition of Europe, interspersed with miscellaneous observations
Source: 1790s, Rights of Man, Part 2 (1792)
Context: I speak an open and disinterested language, dictated by no passion but that of humanity. To me, who have not only refused offers, because I thought them improper, but have declined rewards I might with reputation have accepted, it is no wonder that meanness and imposition appear disgustful. Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.

„It is never to be expected in a revolution that every man is to change his opinion at the same moment. There never yet was any truth or any principle so irresistibly obvious that all men believed it at once.“

—  Thomas Paine

1790s, First Principles of Government (1795)
Context: It is never to be expected in a revolution that every man is to change his opinion at the same moment. There never yet was any truth or any principle so irresistibly obvious that all men believed it at once. Time and reason must cooperate with each other to the final establishment of any principle; and therefore those who may happen to be first convinced have not a right to persecute others, on whom conviction operates more slowly. The moral principle of revolutions is to instruct, not to destroy.

„To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another, and he that has not a vote in the election of representatives is in this case.“

—  Thomas Paine

1790s, First Principles of Government (1795)
Context: The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another, and he that has not a vote in the election of representatives is in this case.

„The atheist who affects to reason, and the fanatic who rejects reason, plunge themselves alike into inextricable difficulties.“

—  Thomas Paine

1790s, Discourse to the Theophilanthropists (1798)
Context: The atheist who affects to reason, and the fanatic who rejects reason, plunge themselves alike into inextricable difficulties. The one perverts the sublime and enlightening study of natural philosophy into a deformity of absurdities by not reasoning to the end. The other loses himself in the obscurity of metaphysical theories, and dishonours the Creator, by treating the study of his works with contempt. The one is a half-rational of whom there is some hope, the other a visionary to whom we must be charitable.

„I speak an open and disinterested language, dictated by no passion but that of humanity.“

—  Thomas Paine, book Rights of Man

Part 2.7 Chapter V. Ways and means of improving the condition of Europe, interspersed with miscellaneous observations
1790s, Rights of Man, Part 2 (1792)
Context: I speak an open and disinterested language, dictated by no passion but that of humanity. To me, who have not only refused offers, because I thought them improper, but have declined rewards I might with reputation have accepted, it is no wonder that meanness and imposition appear disgustful. Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.

„I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.“

—  Thomas Paine, book The Age of Reason

1790s, The Age of Reason, Part I (1794)
Context: I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consists in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy. http://books.google.com/books?id=mHpbAAAAQAAJ&q="I+believe+in+one+God+and+no+more+and+I+hope+for+happiness+beyond+this+life+I+believe+the+equality+of+man+and+I+believe+that+religious+duties+consists+in+doing+justice+loving+mercy+and+endeavoring+to+make+our+fellow+creatures+happy"&pg=PA3#v=onepage.

„Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America.“

—  Thomas Paine

The Crisis No. I.
1770s, The American Crisis (1776–1783)
Context: Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America. Her situation is remote from all the wrangling world, and she has nothing to do but to trade with them.
A man can distinguish himself between temper and principle, and I am as confident, as I am that God governs the world, that America will never be happy till she gets clear of foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out till that period arrives, and the continent must in the end be conqueror; for though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire.

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„The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil.“

—  Thomas Paine

1770s, Common Sense (1776)
Context: Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil.

„Or is the gloomy pride of man become so intolerable, that nothing can flatter it but a sacrifice of the Creator?“

—  Thomas Paine, book The Age of Reason

1790s, The Age of Reason, Part I (1794)
Context: But if objects for gratitude and admiration are our desire, do they not present themselves every hour to our eyes? Do we not see a fair creation prepared to receive us the instant we are born — a world furnished to our hands, that cost us nothing? Is it we that light up the sun, that pour down the rain, and fill the earth with abundance? Whether we sleep or wake, the vast machinery of the universe still goes on. Are these things, and the blessings they indicate in future, nothing to us? Can our gross feelings be excited by no other subjects than tragedy and suicide? Or is the gloomy pride of man become so intolerable, that nothing can flatter it but a sacrifice of the Creator?

„The universe is composed of matter, and, as a system, is sustained by motion.“

—  Thomas Paine

1790s, Discourse to the Theophilanthropists (1798)
Context: The universe is composed of matter, and, as a system, is sustained by motion. Motion is not a property of matter, and without this motion the solar system could not exist. Were motion a property of matter, that undiscovered and undiscoverable thing, called perpetual motion, would establish itself. It is because motion is not a property of matter, that perpetual motion is an impossibility in the hand of every being, but that of the Creator of motion. When the pretenders to Atheism can produce perpetual motion, and not till then, they may expect to be credited.

„Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, — and all it wants, — is the liberty of appearing. The sun needs no inscription to distinguish him from darkness“

—  Thomas Paine, book Rights of Man

Part 2.2 Introduction
1790s, Rights of Man, Part 2 (1792)
Context: Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, — and all it wants, — is the liberty of appearing. The sun needs no inscription to distinguish him from darkness; and no sooner did the American governments display themselves to the world, than despotism felt a shock and man began to contemplate redress.

„The universe is the bible of a true Theophilanthropist. It is there that he reads of God.“

—  Thomas Paine

1790s, Discourse to the Theophilanthropists (1798)
Context: The universe is the bible of a true Theophilanthropist. It is there that he reads of God. It is there that the proofs of his existence are to be sought and to be found. As to written or printed books, by whatever name they are called, they are the works of man's hands, and carry no evidence in themselves that God is the author of any of them. It must be in something that man could not make, that we must seek evidence for our belief, and that something is the universe; the true bible; the inimitable word, of God.

„Every principal art has some science for its parent, though the person who mechanically performs the work does not always, and but very seldom, perceive the connection.“

—  Thomas Paine, book The Age of Reason

1790s, The Age of Reason, Part I (1794)
Context: The Book of Job and the 19th Psalm, which even the Church admits to be more ancient than the chronological order in which they stand in the book called the Bible, are theological orations conformable to the original system of theology. The internal evidence of those orations proves to a demonstration that the study and contemplation of the works of creation, and of the power and wisdom of God, revealed and manifested in those works, made a great part in the religious devotion of the times in which they were written; and it was this devotional study and contemplation that led to the discovery of the principles upon which what are now called sciences are established; and it is to the discovery of these principles that almost all the arts that contribute to the convenience of human life owe their existence. Every principal art has some science for its parent, though the person who mechanically performs the work does not always, and but very seldom, perceive the connection.

„Men who are sincere in defending their freedom, will always feel concern at every circumstance which seems to make against them“

—  Thomas Paine

The Crisis No. IV.
1770s, The American Crisis (1776–1783)
Context: Men who are sincere in defending their freedom, will always feel concern at every circumstance which seems to make against them; it is the natural and honest consequence of all affectionate attachments, and the want of it is a vice. But the dejection lasts only for a moment; they soon rise out of it with additional vigor; the glow of hope, courage and fortitude, will, in a little time, supply the place of every inferior passion, and kindle the whole heart into heroism.

„He investigates nothing to its source, and therefore he confounds everything“

—  Thomas Paine, book Rights of Man

Part 1.3 Rights of Man
1790s, Rights of Man, Part I (1791)
Context: To possess ourselves of a clear idea of what government is, or ought to be, we must trace it to its origin. In doing this we shall easily discover that governments must have arisen either out of the people or over the people. Mr. Burke has made no distinction. He investigates nothing to its source, and therefore he confounds everything; but he has signified his intention of undertaking, at some future opportunity, a comparison between the constitution of England and France. As he thus renders it a subject of controversy by throwing the gauntlet, I take him upon his own ground. It is in high challenges that high truths have the right of appearing; and I accept it with the more readiness because it affords me, at the same time, an opportunity of pursuing the subject with respect to governments arising out of society.

„The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class them separately.“

—  Thomas Paine, book The Age of Reason

Source: 1790s, The Age of Reason, Part II (1795), Chapter I: The Old Testament; this may be the origin of Napoleon's celebrated mot, Du sublime au ridicule il n'y a qu'un pas (From the sublime to the ridiculous there is but one step).
Context: The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime makes the ridiculous, and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime again.

„Man cannot make principles, he can only discover them.“

—  Thomas Paine, book The Age of Reason

1790s, The Age of Reason, Part I (1794)
Context: It is a fraud of the Christian system to call the sciences human invention; it is only the application of them that is human. Every science has for its basis a system of principles as fixed and unalterable as those by which the universe is regulated and governed. Man cannot make principles, he can only discover them.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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