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ACU Thomas Paine

During the American Revolution, Paine's pamphlet "Common Sense" fortified the resilience of the colonial troops and populace. Paine, a former corset-maker, Quaker and privateer from Britain, revolutionized the political thinking of his time with his passionate inventive. After the American Revolution, Paine played radical thinker to Edmund Burke's intellectual conservative in a clash over the implications of the French Revolution. Paine's book-length defense of the Revolution, "The Rights of Man," was condemned as libelous in Britain and provided intellectual succor to the anti-monarchists in France. He became extremely unpopular and took refuge in Paris, where he was warmly welcomed, particularly by the Girondists. He even founded a newspaper with Condorcet. Granted honorary French citizenship, he was elected to the Convention, where he sat attentively despite his inability to speak French. he argued openly against the execution of Louis XVI, suggesting he be exiled to the United States instead. Robespierre later had him arrested and thrown into prison. Paine narrowly escaped the guillotine and eventually returned to the United States. *

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* Escaping the guillotine but ending up in the States. The final proof that there is indeed a fate worse than death.

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