Well, I guess it wouldn't be fair for me to write an article at this point, since it's an assignment for credit in the history class... so I'll just put down some miscellaneous bits and pieces. Anyone can use any of this in the article if they like, but be sure to get the more important stuff in first. If you use any of this rewrite and reorganize it so it fits into the article.
I'm keeping my own copy of this so if anyone thinks it would be better to delete this material, that's OK.
- According to Elmer Rice, "his writings literally sold by the million in the America and the England of his day."
- Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense, a book which had enormous influence in convincing Americans to separate from England; The Rights of Man, which supported the French Revolution; and a book about religion called The Age of Reason. A Wired article calls them "the three bestselling works of the 18th century."
- He wrote the first part of The Age of Reason while he was in jail in France. He had no copy of the Bible with him, and his detailed commentaries on it were all made from memory.
- He wrote a series of pamphlets under the running title The American Crisis. The first one begins with the famous words
- These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
- Thomas Edison admired Paine, and wrote "It was my good fortune to encounter Thomas Paine's works in my boyhood. I discovered a set of the writings of Paine on my father's bookshelves when I was thirteen. It was, indeed, a revelation to me to read that great thinker's views on political and theological subjects. Paine educated me then about many matters of which I had never before thought. I remember very vividly the flash of enlightenment that shone from Paine's writings, and I recall thinking at that time 'What a pity these works are not today the school-books for all children!'"
- Common Sense, The Rights of Man, The American Crisis, and The Age of Reason, are all available online; this is a good starting point.
- At the end of his life, he lived in New Rochelle, New York. The Thomas Paine National Historical Assocation has a museum there.
- Rice, Elmer (1943), "Tom Paine, Prophet of Liberty;" The New York Times, April 25, 1943, Book Review p. 1