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Hidden by Red Saunders: An Impressions Gallery touring exhibition, 9 March – 29 September 2013 Thomas Paine, 1772. Overview.

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Hidden by Red Saunders: An Impressions Gallery touring exhibition, 9 March – 29 September 2013Thomas Paine, 1772


Thomas Paine was an English-American political activist and revolutionary. In addition he authored two highly influential pamphlets inspiring America to declare independence from Britain.

the beginnings of a great man
The beginnings of a great man.

Working in East Sussex, Paine collected taxes and tithes to distribute to the poor. It was observing these conditions that led to him to write a 21 page article, The Case of the Officers of Excise (1772) asking Parliament for better living and working conditions, his first political work.

diary of events
Diary of events



  • He sold all his belongings and moved to London



  • Paine was introduced to Benjamin Franklin by George Lewis Scott



Paine arrived in Philadelphia where he took the oath of allegiance.

the land of opportunity
The land of opportunity

His enjoyment of writing continued as he made America his home.

By January 1775 he used his literally abilities to become a very capable editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine.

the home of the free
The home of the free

As the American Revolution came to head, Thomas Paine relished this opportunity to write literature on his new home. Signed simply ‘written by an Englishman’, Common Sense became an

overnight phenomenon .


In just three months 100,000 copies were sold throughout the American British Colonies.



Paine’s pamphlet encouraged public debate about the cause

Openly spoke about something that had previously been discussed very little.

Modern scholars have concluded that Paine was portraying one distinctive idea; democratic peace theory.


  • Paine’s ideas were very rarely used as political argument
  • Had little influence on the Continental Congress’s decision to issue a Declaration of Independence

What do you think?

vive la revolution
Vive la revolution.

Despite America gaining independence in 1783. Paine soon became a missionary of world revolution and committed himself to the French Revolution after his visit in 1790 and wrote two books on his experience.

He secondly issued, Rights of Man, Part the Second, Combining Principle and Practice, in 1792. This time he detailed social programs of progressive tax measures which Governments could use in order to remedy the high numbers of commoners in poverty.

The first was Rights of Man, criticising monarchies and European social institutions.



paine in trouble
Paine in trouble

Paine returned to America at the invitation of President Jefferson where he remained disliked for his attacks on the Government and organised religion until his death.

After publishing The Age of Reason, an assault on organised religion, detailing the many inconstancies in the Bible, he was arrested in France and narrowly escaped execution.


Though ruffling many feathers in his time, Thomas Paine is often referred to as one of the fathers of revolution and seen as a competent revolutionary and activist.


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