History have made an immense contribution to a cause

History presents an abundance of cases where people
who have made an immense contribution to a cause were rejected by their
contemporaries because of a simple misunderstanding of the entire scale of the
perfect. Such a fate befell on one of the great people, Thomas Paine, the
smartest man, a fighter for truth and justice. Having been at the peak of his
glory for a short term, at the end of his life, he was subjected to ‘exile’,
both morally and physically, contrary to all the results he had actually
achieved. Nevertheless, first of all, it is noteworthy to figure out who Thomas
Payne was and why he can, without doubt, be called the greatest Founding Father
of the United States.

Thomas Paine, an Englishman by
birth, was born in 1737 and grew up in the Quaker family. After dropping out of
school, he started his labor activity early: first, for his father, then in the
tax service, but both times, it turned into a failure for him, and he made a
decision to leave his father’s house in 1756. Up to 37 years old, Thomas
wandered about various jobs and actually lived in poverty, but luck turned to
him when, in 1774 in London, fate brought him to Benjamin Franklin. He advised
him to immigrate to Philadelphia and helped Paine in this, accompanying him
with a letter of recommendation. In the New World there was a completely
different life for him (Strauss 1987).

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From that very moment, Paine decided
to devote himself to journalism, and in 1775, he became an editor of
Pennsylvania Magazine, in which several of his articles were published in the
same year, including one on the need to abolish slavery (African Slavery in
America) (Hitchens 1987). This article largely influenced the creation of
anti-slavery movement in Philadelphia, the member and founder of which, in
fact, was Paine. Although the abolitionists, of course, had existed before
that, it was with the publication of Paine’s article that the movement became
widespread among the American people (Strauss 1987).

However, the greatest response from
the revolutionary-minded US society, which at that time was noticeably
activated in its actions, was called up by Paine’s pamphlet entitled Common Sense. In it, the author severely
criticizes the English constitution and the monarchy as such. Investigating the
constituent parts of the constitution, he argues that ‘they are the vicious
remnants of two ancient tyrannies’ (monarchical tyranny and aristocratic
tyranny), and in general concludes that the constitution is nothing more than
‘absurdity’ (Strauss 1987). He urged the people to resort to drastic measures,
namely, to launch armed actions against the colonialists. ‘The period of the
debate is over. Weapons as the last resort now decide the dispute ‘- that is
how decisively and without alternative Paine declares the need for a severe
struggle. None of the pamphlets of other authors that came out at the time
compares well with Paine’s Common Sense, since all the main ideas reflecting
the issue of the earliest secession from England uniquely merged in it, and the
rationale for this from all points of view, namely: economic, political, moral,
religious one, etc. (Paine 2008) (Dorfman 1938).

The pamphlet ‘scattered’ with
incredible speed throughout America. Each of the 500,000 copies published has
become literally a reference book in many homes. In addition, it is not
surprising, because such a thorough description of all the shortcomings of the
existing situation in America firmly convinced the already rising people to
struggle, that active action is necessary for the final establishment of an
independent democratic republic (Ph.D Tepher 2015). The colonists, inspired by Paine’s pamphlet, swept
the wave of patriotism almost straightaway: everyone craved independence.
George Washington literally forced reading before the troops of Paine’s
proclamation about the creation of the United States, which undoubtedly
inspired the army. As a result, in 1776 at the Second Continental Congress of
the 13 colonies on July 4, the Declaration of Independence was adopted; it
appeared to be the most important historical document of America (which,
incidentally, was called ‘the United States of America’ from that moment. (Chumbley and Zonneveld 2009).

Paine himself, who naturally was far
from alien to the spirit of the liberation movement, decided to join the ranks
of the fighting army. Although he did not excel in his activity as a soldier,
but as a direct witness of everything that was happening, Payne wrote 13
proclamations under the general title ‘The American Crisis’. These
proclamations were immensely helpful to soldiers who needed support, faith in
the righteousness of their cause. In them, the author fiercely defends the idea
that England is guilty of many of the misfortunes of America, and calls the
American Revolution an undoubted good (Chumbley and Zonneveld 2009) (Hitchens 1987).

Paine’s papers made him incredibly
famous and, in fact, the second most popular after Washington. After the
formation of the United States, he received a high post for his services – he
was appointed Secretary of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In theory, a
qualified specialist in this field, and not a publicist, who in essence was
Thomas, should occupy such a position of the highest importance. Because of his
relative lack of professionalism and lack of skills for such work, Payne made some
irreparable mistakes. He was accused of divulging state secrets, and as a
result, fired.

He continued his activity in Europe,
which he left in the late 80’s. Revolutionary France as it was at that time was
close to him in spirit, and with new forces, he began to defend the ideas of
the revolution there. Then his book ‘Human Rights’ was published (1791); it was
the first paper in history, which expounded the principles of building a
democratic society thoroughly. The treatise received approval and enthusiastic
reaction from France and America, because it reflected completely innovative
ideas for the time: the equality of women, the separation of religion from the
state, the abolition of the monarchical order. But trying to promote his ideas
in France in the same way as he did in America – persistently, sharply and too
straightforwardly – Paine was recognized by the Convention as a ‘hostile alien’
and was arrested in 1793. In conclusion, Paine wrote a great work, ‘The Age of
Reason’, which aroused a violent reaction and turned him into an eternal enemy
of all the clergy and all believers, since the author rejected all churches,
ironically treated the Bible in the book, and that is not all. The number of
Paine’s advocates grew smaller and smaller, but there was a hope for release
from prison. With the help of the US ambassador, Paine was released, and he
went back to the United States of America after almost 15 years of his absence
there (Foner 2005).

What was Thomas’s surprise when he
discovered for himself a completely different America that was so unlike the
revolutionary country that he had once left. His ideas were almost forgotten by
the people, and the attitude to him changed radically – now, if in any
newspaper they mentioned him, then undoubtedly, next to the words like
‘blasphemer’ and ‘criminal’. Nevertheless, despite all the difficulties he
encountered, Paine did not give up and did not abandon the idea of fighting for
truth, common sense and democracy. In 1803, Pain’s last work Letters to the
Citizens of the United States was published, consisting of 7 (seven) messages
to President Jefferson. Their content is amazing as Thomas Paine was actually a
hundred years ahead of his time; he was trying to describe the model of an
international organization (the prototype of which became the League of Nations
and then the UN later), which, in his opinion, was vital for the whole world.
However, Paine’s letters were not understood by people and not taken seriously.
Therefore, without getting back at least part of the approval that Thomas once
used, he was finally forgotten by his contemporaries and died by everyone left
on June 8, 1809 (Strauss 1987).

Paine was one of the first to make a
clear distinction between society and the state by their origin, role and purpose.
‘Our needs and the government create the society by our vices: the first
contributes to our happiness, positively uniting our good impulses, the second,
negatively, curbing our vices, one encouraging rapprochement, and the other
encouraging discord’ (Paine 2008). Then followed the maxims anticipating some
judgments of Godwin and Bakunin against the state. ‘Society in any state is
good, the government and the best is only the necessary evil, and in the worst
case – an unbearable evil … After all, if the dictates of conscience were
clear, certain and implicitly performed, then the person would not be needed in
any other legislator’ (Paine 2008).