Thomas Paine Biography ID 19
"I know not," John Adams wrote in 1806, "whether any man in the world has had more influence on its inhabitants or affairs for the last thirty years than Thomas Paine." After enduring many failures in his native England, Paine, whose father was a Quaker, arrived in Philadelphia in 1774, bearing invaluable letters of introduction from Benjamin Franklin.
By far the Revolution's most powerful pamphleteer, Paine was the author of Common Sense, which sold 150,000 copies after it was published in January 1776. A powerful attack on monarchy and hereditary privilege, it also demanded a complete break with Britain and the establishment of a strong federal union.
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