Thomas Paine

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Thomas Paine

In September of 1776, on the outskirts of Newark, among the tired, discouraged, soldiers, as they paused from their daily retreat, sat Thomas Paine. He wrote many papers that would have a major effect on the outcome of the quest for independence. Born the son of a Quaker Laymaker on January 29th, 1737 at Thetford, Norfolk England. He received a basic elementary education, and started to work for his father as an apprentice, and later as an excise officer. He was not a huge success at either, and was in fact fired twice from the job as an excise officer. When he arrived in Philadelphia on November 30th 1774, he was sick and feverish, and had to be carried on a stretcher. With a letter of recommendation from Ben Franklin, he was accepted into a hospital and given special care, until he recovered. With that same letter from Ben Franklin, he found many doors opened for him, including jobs tutoring many of the sons of the wealthiest men in Philadelphia.

Paine started over again, by publishing African Slavery In America, in the spring of 1775, in which he criticized slavery in America as being unjust and inhumane. At about this same time, he became the co-editor for the Pennsylvania Magazine. When he arrived in Philadelphia, Paine noticed the tension, and the rebellious attitude, that was continually getting larger, after the Boston Tea Party.

In Paine's opinion, the Colonies had all the right to revolt against a government that imposed taxes on them, and which did not give them the right of representation in the Parliament at Westminster. Then he went one massive step further, he decided there was no reason for the Colonies to stay dependent on England. He published his opinions in the American independence pamphlet Common Sense.

In Common Sense Paine states that sooner or later Independence from England must come, because America had lost touch with the mother country. He felt that the function of government in society was to only be...
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