Thomas Paine (or Pain; February 9, 1737 [O.S. January 29, 1736][Note 1] – June 8, 1809) was an English-born American political activist, philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary. One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, he authored the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution and inspired the rebels in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era rhetoric of transnational human rights. Saul K. Padover described him as “a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination”.
Born in Thetford in the English county of Norfolk, Paine migrated to the British American colonies in 1774 with the help of Benjamin Franklin, arriving just in time to participate in the American Revolution. Virtually every rebel read (or listened to a reading of) his powerful pamphlet Common Sense (1776), proportionally the all-time best-selling American title, which crystallized the rebellious demand for independence from Great Britain. His The American Crisis (1776–1783) was a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series. Common Sense was so influential that John Adams said: “Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain”.