Paine's Contributions as an Original Thinker
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
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
- 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,
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.