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Thomas Paine
(also known as: Tom Paine)
English political theorist
(1737-1809)



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Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.
-- Common Sense (1776)

As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensible duty of government to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith.
-- Common Sense (1776)

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 men and women.
-- The Crisis (December 1776), Introduction [Paine is referring to the American Revolution (1775-83)]

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.
-- The American Crisis (September 12, 1777), no. 4

Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law.
-- The Rights of Man (1791-2)

The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.
-- The Rights of Man, Part 2 (1792)

It is a fraud of the Christian religion to call the sciences human invention; it is only the application of them that is human.
-- The Age of Reason, Part 1 (1794)


Quotes about Thomas Paine

Tom Paine has almost no influence on present-day thinking in the United States because he is unknown to the average citizen. Perhaps I might say right here that this is a national loss and a deplorable lack of understanding concerning the man who first proposed and first wrote those impressive words, 'the United States of America.' But it is hardly strange. Paine's teachings have been debarred from schools everywhere and his views of life misrepresented until his memory is hidden in shadows, or he is looked upon as of unsound mind. (...)

We never had a sounder intelligence in this Republic. He was the equal of Washington in making American liberty possible. Where Washington performed Paine devised and wrote. The deeds of one in the Weld were matched by the deeds of the other with his pen. (...)

I consider Paine our greatest political thinker. As we have not advanced, and perhaps never shall advance, beyond the Declaration and Constitution, so Paine has had no successors who extended his principles."
-- Thomas Alva Edison, "The Philosophy of Paine" (1925), an essay published in The Diary and Sundry Observations, edited by Dagobert D. Runes (1948).


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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