Interesting Facts About Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine, born in England, was known as one of America’s founding fathers. His early life was scarred by failures and disappointments, so much so that most who knew him would not have expected him to achieve many of the accomplishments that he actually did. Read on to discover a few interesting facts about Thomas Paine.

He was a flunky
When he was 12 years old, Thomas Paine flunked out of Thetford Grammar School in England.

He gave the world Common Sense
After many failures in his career Thomas Paine went on to write Common Sense, published in 1776 and the first writing of its kind to use simple language that the colonists could easily understand. Common Sense is credited with convincing the masses to break away from British rule—and therefore, inspiring the American Revolution.

He didn’t speak French
But he defended their right to rebel in the 1790’s and was heavily involved in the French Revolution. He was also elected to the French National Convention in 1792.

He was a radical before it was cool
In 1772, when he was 35 years old, Thomas Paine published The Case of the Officers of Excise, an argument for a pay raise for officers. It wasn’t taken seriously at the time, but is considered his first important writing and an indication of his desire to fight for people’s rights.

Benjamin Franklin convinced him to move to America
In 1774, Paine met Benjamin Franklin in London and was inspired by his new friend to move to Philadelphia.

He was imprisoned in France
Even though he supported their revolution, he was arrested in France when he would not support the execution of Louis XVI.

His religious views caused him to be ostracized
Although he was revered for his writings and his grand visions for world peace and social security for the elderly and poor, his views on religion (his work, The Age of Reason was anti-church) were so radical that he was abandoned by many of his friends in his later years.

He was more appreciated in death than in life
A line from his obituary “He had lived long, did some good and much harm”, described the general consensus of the man who had given society so many revolutionary, passionate works, including African Slavery in America, American Crisis, The Age of Reason and Rights of Man.

Only 6 people gathered to pay their respects
Despite his major contributions to the American Revolution and society as a whole, Thomas Paine died alone on June 8, 1809 in New York City. Only 6 people showed up to his funeral, and half of them were former slaves.