Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine was an England-born political philosopher and writer who supported revolutionary causes in America and Europe. Published in 1776 to international acclaim,

was the first pamphlet to advocate American independence. After writing the “The American Crisis” papers during the Revolutionary War, Paine returned to Europe and offered a stirring defense of the French Revolution with "Rights of Man." His political views led to a stint in prison; after his release, he produced his last great essay, "The Age of Reason," a controversial critique of institutionalized religion and Christian theology.