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Thomas Paine is undoubtedly one of the most prolific founding fathers of the United States, albeit not in the manner most would expect from a founding father. Paine was not a drafter of the constitution, nor was he an early member of Congress or President of the United States. However, Paine did have a profound impact on society, not only in America, but also abroad. Often remembered for helping spur the American Revolution, yet not as often remembered for the other revolution in France. Two of the more famous writings from Paine are, of course, Common Sense and The Rights of Man, both of which were written during revolutionary times in separate countries. It goes without saying that when a revolution is taking place there will be many on both sides of the war; in both of these instances, Paine was the voice of the people and stood up for what was right regardless of the consequences. I posit Thomas Paine was the most influential man for revolution in America and France despite fear of backlash or imprisonment. In fact, near the end of his life Paine was not only imprisoned, but somehow evaded being beheaded as well. Thomas Paine was even more influential as a result of his extreme lack of self-interest and ability to stay true to the cause of his writings rather than wither away in fear.

Conservative estimates place the sales of Common Sense around 300,000 while more robust estimates claim upwards of 500,000 copies being bought recently after being printed. This large readership was probably a combination of many variables. However, Paine had a way of speaking to the masses, quite possibly due to his humble upbringings, that surely increased sales. Paine was born in Thetford to a corset maker and took up the job as well bef...

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...ld politics more than any other person of his time did.

Works Cited

Gallagher, Edward J. "Thomas Paine's Crisis 1 and the Comfort of Time." Explicator 68, no. 2 (April 2010): 87-89. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed February 27, 2011).

Nash, David. "The Gain from Paine." History Today 59, no. 6 (June 2009): 12-18. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed February 27, 2011).

Paine, Thomas. "Common Sense." Common Sense (January 3, 2009): 1. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed February 27, 2011).

Paine, Thomas. 2009. "The rights of man." Rights of Man 1. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed February 27, 2011).

Young, Rowland L. "A Powerful Change in the Minds of Men." American Bar Association Journal 62, no. 1 (January 1976): 90. International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center, EBSCOhost (accessed February 27, 2011).


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