Thomas Paine was a plain talking, big thinking common man – self educated in matters of science, philosophy, activism and political theory.
His pamphlets and books inspired ordinary people throughout the colonies of America to stand up for their rights, and throw off the yoke of British domination. Soon after, these books were smuggled into France, where they inspired the overthrow of the French Monarchy and led to the onset of the French Revolution.
Thomas would go on to write on many issues of social justice, including abolition, universal suffrage, aged care, education, welfare, healthcare and anti-corruption in government. This occasionally made him a target of powerful people, and despite his heroic status, he was eventually marginalised and forgotten.
Overshadowed by the major players who used his work to their advantage, Paine died in obscurity and poverty, having transformed the landscape of democracy across three continents, and was the source of many of our greatest achievements in civil discourse and progress over the last 250 years.
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