We at Interesting Literature felt it was about time we saluted a truly modern man, Thomas Paine (1737-1809).
A story from the 1960s shows just how inflammatory this champion of freedom, equality, and independence still is, even in more recent times. In 1964 the mayor of Thetford in Norfolk (Paine’s hometown) said he would only approve a statue of Paine if it was stamped with the words ‘convicted traitor’.
Paine certainly remains a divisive figure, but that is because he was never afraid to speak his mind, even if he knew it would land him in hot water. He played an influential role in both the American War of Independence and the French Revolution. Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense argued for independence for America, and when Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence in 1776, he drew heavily on Paine’s work (Paine was also the first person to use the phrase…
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