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Paine Thomas 1737-1809 Anglo-American political philosopher whose writings had great influence during two upheavals in the 18th century the American Revolution 1775-1783 and the French Revolution 1789-1799 My country is the world and my religion is to do good Paine 198 Paine was born in Thetford Norfolk England to an Anglican mother and a Quaker father He remained poor throughout his life At the age of 13 he began working for his father and at 19 he went to sea Paine returned to England shortly thereafter and moved through various jobs eventually becoming an excise officer As an officer he had to collect taxes from smugglers he tracked down He was dismissed in 1772 for publishing a document calling for an increase in wages as a means of reducing corruption in government service His personal life did not fare much better his first wife died and he later legally separated from his second wife In London Paine met and befriended Benjamin Franklin who was serving as a representative of the American colonies in Great Britain On Franklins advice and equipped with letters of introduction from him Paine immigrated to Philadelphia in 1774 He became an editor on the Pennsylvania Magazine and also anonymously published writings including poetry One of his publications was the article African Slavery in America criticizing slavery in America as being unjust and inhumane Paine published his most famous work the 50-page pamphlet Common Sense on January 10 1776 In a dramatic rhetorical style the document asserted that the American colonies received no advantage from Great Britain which was exploiting them and that every consideration of common sense called for the colonies to become independent and establish a republican government of their own The document went on to criticize the monarchy as an institution A powerful piece of propaganda it attacked the idea of a hereditary monarchy dismissed the chance for reconciliation with England and outlined the economic benefits of
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