“I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon.” — Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737 – June 8, 1809) was an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called “a corset maker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination.”

[a full, and very interesting, discussion on Thomas Paine can be found at Wikipedia]

Portrait of Thomas Paine by Matthew Pratt, 1785–1795

Portrait of Thomas Paine by Matthew Pratt, 1785–1795

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