Thomas Paine

As the author of the famous political pamphlet titled Common Sense, Thomas Paine helped fan the flames of the American Revolution. George Washington ordered the first essay from Common Sense read aloud to the troops at Valley Forge. Here's a noteworthy excerpt from Paine's essay:

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly; 'tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.

The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. Where, say some, is the king of America? I'll tell you, friend, He reigns above.

Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be placed on the Divine Law, the Word of God; let a crown be placed thereon.

The Almighty implanted in us these inextinguishable feelings for good and wise purposes. They are the guardians of His image in our heart. They distinguish us from the herd of common animals.

Paine later became infatuated with the French Revolution, which he mistakenly saw as in the same tradition as the American Revolution. Paine later realized his error. The American Revolution was based on Christian principles, while the French Revolution was hostile to Christianity. The American Revolution resulted in unprecedented political liberty for its citizens, while the French Revolution ended in a bloodthirsty tyranny. Paine's unfortunate defense of the French Revolution was titled The Age of Reason, a book he later recanted:

I would give worlds, if I had them, if The Age of Reason had never been published. O Lord, help! Stay with me! It is hell to be left alone.

Thomas Paine's last words were:

I die in perfect composure and resignation to the will of my Creator, God.

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