Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine
  • Born: February 9, 1737
  • Died: June 8, 1809
  • Nationality: English
  • Profession: Writer









Thomas Paine (February 9, 1737 [O.S. January 29, 1736] – June 8, 1809) was an English-born American political activist, philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary. One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, he authored the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution and inspired the patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain.

Quote Topics Cited
… prepare in time an asylum for mankind. Freedom & Liberty
… the imaginations of men are exceedingly prone to deify and worship them [kings]; though, to the great misfortune of mankind, they are more commonly fiends, than angels. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
…when Rights are placed upon, or made dependent upon property, they are on the most precarious of all tenures. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
A bad cause will ever be supported by bad means and bad men. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
A French bastard arriving with armed banditti and establishing himself the King of England against the consent of the natives is in plain terms a very paltry rascally original and certainly has no divinity in it…. If the succession runs in the line of the conqueror the nation runs in the line of being conquered and ought to rescue itself Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. Power ;Religion & God ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
An Englishman Miscellaneous
As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious professors therefore, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith. Religion & God
As to you, sir, treacherous in private friendship and … a hypocrite in public life, the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an imposter, whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether you ever had any. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. Freedom & Liberty
Freedom hath been hunted around the globe. Asia and Africa have long expelled her. Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O! Receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind. Freedom & Liberty
Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens, from whom the Children of Israel copied the custom. It was the most prosperous invention the Devil ever set on foot for the promotion of idolatry Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
Government needs to be formed by people, and run by people, for the benefit of people. Democracies & Republics
Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one. Government ;Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself. Freedom & Liberty
I am thus far a Quaker, that I would gladly agree with all the world to lay aside the use of arms, and settle matters by negotiation; but unless the whole will, the matter ends, and I take up my musket and thank heaven he has put it in my power. Arms Race & Disarmament
I care not how affluent some may be, provided that none be miserable in consequence of it. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
I do not believe that monarchy and aristocracy will continue seven years longer in any of the enlightened countries of Europe Freedom & Liberty
I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
In every quarrel between two gentlemen where satisfaction is thought necessary, let the parties be empowered to summon a jury of honour from among their friends, six to be appointed by one gentleman, and six by the other …. Let this jury of honour, when duly assembled, discuss the merits of the dispute in question, and form their opinion by a majority of votes; but to guard against generating fresh quarrels by the discovery of the votes on either side, let the whole twelve be bound to secrecy upon their honour, and the whole twelve sign the verdict of the majority. Let a copy of this verdict be delivered to the gentleman whose conduct is condemned; and if he refuses to make the required concession or due satisfaction, let this opinion be published in such a manner as may be thought proper, and be understood to divest him of his character as a gentleman so long as he remains contumacious. By this single expedient, conveyed in few words, it is hoped the necessity of duels may be effectually superseded, the practice suppressed, and ample satisfaction enforced for all injuries of honour. Miscellaneous
In no instance hath nature made the satellite larger than its primary planet. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising ;Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good. Citizenship & Patriotism
It is never to be expected in a revolution that every man is to change his opinion at the same moment. There never yet was any truth or any principle so irresistibly obvious that all men believed it at once. Time and reason must cooperate with each other to the final establishment of any principle; and therefore those who may happen to be first convinced have not a right to persecute others, on whom conviction operates more slowly. The moral principle of revolutions is to instruct, not to destroy. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
It is of the utmost danger to society to make it (religion) a party in political disputes …. Mingling religion with politics may be disavowed and reprobated by every inhabitant of America. Religion & God
It is the nature and intention of a constitution to prevent governing by party, by establishing a common principle that shall limit and control the power and impulse of party, and that says to all parties, thus far shalt thou go and no further. But in the absence of a constitution, men look entirely to party; and instead of principle governing party, party governs principle. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
It is wrong to say God made rich and poor; He made only male and female Religion & God
Men did not make the earth... It is the value of the improvements only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property... Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Near three thousand years passed away, from the Mosaic account of the creation, till the Jews under a national delusion requested a king. Till then their form of government (except in extraordinary cases, where the Almighty interposed) was a kind of republic administered by a judge and the elders of the tribes. Kings they had none, and it was held sinful to acknowledge any being under that title but the Lord of Hosts. Democracies & Republics
No person ought to be in a worse condition when born under what is called a state of civilization, than he would have been had he been born in a state of nature Poverty
Of the present state we may justly say, that no nation under heaven ever struck out in so short a time, and with so much spirit and reputation, into the labyrinth of art and science; and that, not in the acquisition of knowledge only, but in the happy advantages flowing from it. The world does not at this day exhibit a parallel, neither can history produce its equal. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man's own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
Society is produced by our wants and government by our wickedness….government in its best state is a necessary evil; in its worse state an intolerable one. Management & Managing Government
Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first a patron, the last a punisher. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Spiritual freedom is the root of political liberty… because till spiritual freedom was made manifest, political liberty did not exist. Freedom & Liberty
The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. Horrid mischief would ensue were one-half the world deprived of the use of them; Military & Veterans
The birthday of a new world is at hand. States. Nations & Nationhood
The Christian church has set up a religion of pomp and revenue in pretended imitation of a person (Jesus) who lived a life of poverty. Religion & God
The circumstances of the world are continually changing, and the opinions of man change also; and as government is for the living, and not for the dead, it is the living only that has any right in it. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
The end of all political associations is, the preservation of the rights of man, which rights are liberty, property, and security; that the nation is the source of all sovereignty derived from it... States. Nations & Nationhood
The great mass of the poor in countries are become an hereditary race, and it is next to impossible them to get out of that state of themselves Poverty
The Press has not only a great influence over our manners and morals, but contributes largely to our pleasures. Media, Journalism & The Press
The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another, and he that has not a vote in the election of representatives is in this case. Voters, Voting & Elections ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms, like law, discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. Defense & National Security ;Guns & Gun Control
The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms, like law, discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. Guns & Gun Control
The universe is composed of matter, and, as a system, is sustained by motion. Motion is not a property of matter, and without this motion the solar system could not exist. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
The Vatican is a dagger in the heart of Italy. Religion & God
The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. Freedom & Liberty ;Citizenship & Patriotism
Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them Human Nature
To know whether it be in the interest of the Continent to be independent, we need only to ask this, simple question: Is it in the interest of a man to be a boy all his life? Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
Too many nations enslaved the prisoners they took in war. But to go to nations with whom there is no war, who have no way provoked, without farther design of conquest, purely to catch inoffensive people, like wild beasts, for slaves, is an height of outrage against Humanity and Justice, that seems left by Heathen nations to be practiced by pretended Christians. How shameful are all attempts to color and excuse it! Miscellaneous ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
We have it within our power to begin the world over again. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
When despotism has established itself for ages in a country, as in France, it is not in the person of the king only that it resides. It has the appearance of being so in show, and in nominal authority; but it is not so in practice and in fact. It has its standard everywhere. Every office and department has its despotism, founded upon custom and usage. Miscellaneous
When I reflect on the pompous titles bestowed on unworthy men, I feel an indignity that instructs me to despise the absurdity. The Honourable plunderer of his country, or the Right Honourable murderer of mankind, create such a contrast of ideas as exhibit a monster rather than a man. Virtue is inflamed at the violation, and sober reason calls it nonsense. Miscellaneous
When moral principles, rather than persons, are candidates for power, to vote is to perform a moral duty, and not to vote is to neglect a duty Voters, Voting & Elections
When the rich plunder the poor of his rights, it becomes an example of the poor to plunder the rich of his property, for the rights of the one are as much property to him as wealth is property to the other and the little all is as dear as the much. It is only by setting out on just principles that men are trained to be just to each other; and it will always be found, that when the rich protect the rights of the poor, the poor will protect the property of the rich. But the guarantee, to be effectual, must be parliamentarily reciprocal. Miscellaneous
When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary. Equality & Equal Opportunity
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.
A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.
An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot. War & Peace
Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be true. Religion & God
Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man. Religion & God
But such is the irresistable nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants is the liberty of appearing. Truth ;Nature
Character is much easier kept than recovered.
Every religion is good that teaches man to be good; and I know of none that instructs him to be bad. Religion & God
Every science has for its basis a system of principles as fixed and unalterable as those by which the universe is regulated and governed. Man cannot make principles; he can only discover them. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
He that rebels against reason is a real rebel, but he that in defence of reason rebels against tyranny has a better title to Defender of the Faith, than George the Third. Religion & God
He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.
He who is the author of a war lets loose the whole contagion of hell and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death. Death ;War & Peace
Human nature is not of itself vicious. Nature
I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy. Equality & Equal Opportunity
I prefer peace. But if trouble must come, let it come in my time, so that my children can live in peace. Time ;War & Peace
If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. War & Peace
Is it not a species of blasphemy to call the New Testament revealed religion, when we see in it such contradictions and absurdities. Religion & God
It is an affront to treat falsehood with complaisance.
It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry. Truth
It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe. Happiness & Unhappiness
It is not a God, just and good, but a devil, under the name of God, that the Bible describes. Religion & God
It is not charity but a right, not bounty but justice, that I am pleading for. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Equality & Equal Opportunity
It is the direction and not the magnitude which is to be taken into consideration.
My country is the world, and my religion is to do good. Religion & God
My mind is my own church.
Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst. Religion & God
One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.
Our present numbers are so happily proportioned to our wants that no man need be idle. History
Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law. Religion & God
Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us. Women ;Religion & God
Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best stage, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one. Society ;Government
Suspicion is the companion of mean souls, and the bane of all good society. Society
That God cannot lie, is no advantage to your argument, because it is no proof that priests can not, or that the Bible does not. Religion & God
That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly.
The abilities of man must fall short on one side or the other, like too scanty a blanket when you are abed. If you pull it upon your shoulders, your feet are left bare; if you thrust it down to your feet, your shoulders are uncovered.
The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. Motivation
The instant formal government is abolished, society begins to act. A general association takes place, and common interest produces common security. Society ;Government
The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason.
The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.
The strength and power of despotism consists wholly in the fear of resistance. Power
The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion. Religion & God
There are two distinct classes of what are called thoughts: those that we produce in ourselves by reflection and the act of thinking and those that bolt into the mind of their own accord.
These are the times that try men's souls.
Those who want to reap the benefits of this great nation must bear the fatigue of supporting it.
Time makes more converts than reason. Time
'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. Death ;Business, Commerce & Finance ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Titles are but nicknames, and every nickname is a title.
To establish any mode to abolish war, however advantageous it might be to Nations, would be to take from such Government the most lucrative of its branches. Government ;War & Peace
To say that any people are not fit for freedom, is to make poverty their choice, and to say they had rather be loaded with taxes than not. Freedom & Liberty
War involves in its progress such a train of unforeseen circumstances that no human wisdom can calculate the end; it has but one thing certain, and that is to increase taxes. War & Peace
We can only reason from what is; we can reason on actualities, but not on possibilities.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.
When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.
Your dependence upon the crown is no advantage, but rather an injury to the people of Britain, as it increases the power and influence of the King. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance