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thomas paine - Joby Martin HIST 201 The Legacy of Thomas...

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Joby Martin HIST 201 11/29/05 The Legacy of Thomas Paine Note: the purpose of this paper was to examine Paine’s life before, during, and after his participation in the American Revolution, and the lasting effects his numerous works have had. Thomas Paine, despite never being an American citizen, became one of the most influential and iconic figures of his time period. An author, a philosopher, and a rudimentary political scientist, Paine was ahead of his time in many ways. Although many of his views were considered radical, many of his publications were crucial to building support for American independence. Paine was born into a humble setting on January 29, 1737. The son of corset maker, Joseph Paine, became his father’s apprentice after discontinuing formal education at the age of thirteen. Paine eventually abandoned his father’s apprenticeship, and became a merchant sailor in 1756. Eventually he took a position as a supernumerary office, before being fired for failing to fully inspect imported goods. Despite a lack of formal education, Paine also worked as a school teacher, as well as the proprietor of a snuff tobacco shop. It was while working at the snuff shop that Paine first became involved with political and social causes. Paine became a follower of the Society of Twelve, a civic group which discussed political matters of town and state.
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He became of member of the Vestry, a powerful and respected church group that collected tithes and taxes, as well as working to help the poor. It was in 1772 that Paine published his first widely-read document, entitled The Case of the Officers of Excise. In this, his first politically-minded publication, he argued that raising the salary of tax-collectors would reduce corruption. It was a very controversial opinion, one which led to the end of his work as a tax collector. But Paine’s path into the history books took a dramatic turn in 1774, when he met Benjamin Franklin. Franklin shared many of Paine’s often-controversial views, and suggested that he may have a more willing audience in the colonies. Following Franklin’s advice, Paine left England for Philadelphia in November of that year.
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