“Act as free men, but do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves to God.” —I Peter 2:16
Thomas Paine’s First American Crisis Article Published, December 19, 1776
hese are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
So began the first in a series of articles written by Thomas Paine over a seven-year period during the American War for Independence. That first essay so inspired George Washington that he had it read aloud to the troops at Valley Forge in the winter of 1776-77. There is very little in the early life of Thomas Paine to indicate he would write pamphlets that would bring fire to the minds and hearts of American patriots and become a Founding Father of the United States.
Thomas Paine (1737-1809) English-born American philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary
Born in Thetford, Norfolk, England in 1736, Paine apprenticed with his father, a Quaker, making stays, that is, stay ropes for the shipping trades. He received a rudimentary education at a local school, but spent a brief time at sea with a privateer before settling down into his own stay-making business. He worked at an excise office but was fired for false reporting. He married his landlord’s daughter and started a tobacco business, which failed. He was forced to sell all his possessions to avoid debtor’s prison.