Enormously popular and widely read pamphlet, first published in January of 1776, clearly and persuasively argues for American separation from Great Britain and paves the way for the Declaration of Independence. This highly influential landmark document attacks the monarchy, cites the evils of government and combines idealism with practical economic concerns.
Paine was born in Norfolk, England, on January 29, 1737. He received a basic education in history, mathematics, and science, but left school at age 13 to apprentice in his father's corsetmaking shop. In 1757, he spent time at sea aboard the privateer ship King of Prussia, and later found employment as a journeyman staymaker in London. All the while, Paine continued to study on his own, influenced by the work of two leading figures of the Enlightenment, Isaac Newton and John Locke. He began writing political pamphlets, and at the urging of Benjamin Franklin, emigrated to Philadelphia in 1774 to