Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Paine, Thomas (1737–1809)
Thomas Paine was a radical democratic political propagandist and inventor who played a pivotal role in the American Revolution and participated in the French Revolution. Born in Thetford, United Kingdom, to a modest working class family and raised as a Quaker, Paine lived a tumultuous life characterized by unremitting professional failure and personal tragedy in his early years, extraordinary literary success and political prestige in his middle age, and misfortune and controversy in his final two decades. The largely self-educated Paine tried his hand at staymaking (his father's profession of corset making), excise collections, and shopkeeping before he published his first political pamphlet in 1772, The Case of the Officers of Excise , which urged salary increases for excise officers in order to prevent their poverty and corruption. He went on to become an enormously influential political thinker who helped popularize radical and liberal causes, including the abolition of slavery, ...