"My country is the World. My Religion is to do Good."

Paine's Contributions as an Original Thinker

Unknown Author

Paine's writing inspired men of his day in America, England and France, to live and die for freedom, and left behind in these countries a vision of a world of men free in body and spirit.

His book "Rights of Man", has been cited as his most famous work. It's message about democracy is timeless and it has become a standard work on sound political principles. It is probably the greatest book ever written on political science and the rights of man.

Among the things Paine was the first to propose or do were the following:

  • Publicly call for complete equality for women.(As editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine in 1775, he published an article that made a public plea for women's rights.
  • Protest African slavery (One of the best early attacks on slavery - 1774)
  • Advocate free public education.
  • Call for a Constitutional Convention.
  • Write 1st "best seller" in America, Common Sense, (120,000 copies/3mos.)
  • Acted as Secretary of State. - 1777-79
  • Took the lead in funding the war for independence ($500 of own salary, plus donation of royalties from his writings)
  • Delineate a social welfare system.
  • Advocated the purchase of the Louisiana Territory as a means of securing democratic governance by the people of North America.
  • Propose an International Peace Organization.
  • Probably the first person to use the phrase, "The United States of America."
  • Be called "father of American journalism"
  • Recommend that the age of retirement be set at 60 years old.
  • Advocated the purchase of Florida from the Spanish.
  • Protested against Cruelty to Animals.
  • Protested the practice of dueling as a means to settle disputes between individuals.
  • Designed a Single Span Bridge that gained scientific acceptance in both France and England.

Not only did he advocate reform in the composition of the government, he outlined plans for:
  • Relief of the poor.
  • An allowance for funeral expenses of the dying and out of work.
  • State employment and lodging to aid the unemployed.
  • Proposed a progressive income tax.
  • Prophesied the independence of South America and the opening of wealthy countries to general world trade.

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