A volume of Thomas Paine's most essential works, showcasing one of American history's most eloquent proponents of democracy.
Upon publication, Thomas Paine’s modest pamphlet Common Sense shocked and spurred the foundling American colonies of 1776 to action. It demanded freedom from Britain—when even the most fervent patriots were only advocating tax reform. Paine’s daring prose paved the way for the Declaration of Independence and, consequently, the Revolutionary War. For “without the pen of Paine,” as John Adams said, “the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.”
Later, his impassioned defense of the French Revolution, Rights of Man, caused a worldwide sensation. Napoleon, for one, claimed to have slept with a copy under his pillow, recommending that “a statue of gold should be erected to [Paine] in every city in the universe.”
Here in one volume, these two complete works are joined with selections from Pain's other major essays, “The Crisis,” “The Age of Reason,” and “Agrarian Justice.”
Includes a Foreword by Jack Fruchtman Jr. and an Introduction by Sidney Hook
About the Author
Thomas Paine was born in England in 1737 and worked as a schoolteacher, storekeeper, and customs inspector before moving to Philadelphia in 1774. He quickly acquired a reputation as a journalist and published his hugely successful and influential pamphlet Common Sense in 1776. The Crisis, written when Paine was a soldier in the darkest days of the revolution—with its famous opening words, “These are the times that try men’s souls”—called for perseverance and prevented Washington’s army from disintegrating. To honor him for defending the French Revolution in Rights of Man, France made him a citizen and elected him to their constitutional convention. He died in 1809.
“Without...Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.”—John Adams