Thomas Paine (1737-1809) is a figure from our revolutionary past who emerged from obscurity to upset the world with his popular writings. “He wrote the three top-selling literary works of the eighteenth century, which inspired the American Revolution, issued a historic battle cry for individual rights, and challenged the corrupt power of government churches,”researcher Jim Powell tells us.

After enduring a long illness Paine, 72, died in Greenwich Village, New York City on June 8, 1809. Though he was known throughout the world his friends, such as they were, were in short supply. Wikipedia says only “six mourners came to his funeral, two of whom were black, most likely freedmen.” The free world had abandoned Paine. Why?


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