In Thetford, Nolfolk, England, Thomas Paine was born. His mother was Anglican and his father was a Quaker. He was poor his whole life. When he was thirteen years old, he started working with his father. When he was nineteen, he went out to sea. Paine returned to England and went through many jobs, finally becoming an excise officer, where he would collect taxes from smugglers he tracked down. He was dismissed for writing a document that asked for more money in reducing means of government service. Paine's first wife died, and later, he got divorced from his second wife.
When Paine was in London, he met and became friends with Benjamin Franklin. In 1774, Paine took Franklin's advice and with recommendation from Franklin, he immigrated to Philadelphia. "He became an editor on the Pennsylvania Magazine and also anonymously published writings, including poetry." One of the articles that he wrote was, "African Slavery in America." He condemned the practice of slavery. .
On January 10th, 1776, Paine published his most famous work; a fifty-page pamphlet called Common Sense (Encarta). Published anonymously, the pamphlet sold 100,000 copies in the first three months, and all together sold over 500,000 copies. The influence of Common Sense insisted that America adopt a new way of government instead of just rejecting British Rule (Owen 16). .
Paine briefly served in the army under a general named Nathanael Greene. "Paine wrote a series of pamphlets between 1776 and 1783 entitled The American Crisis." The words that he wrote helped inspire the patriots who battled in the Revolutionary War, including a famous first line: "These are the times that try men's souls." The pamphlets were ordered by George Washington and read to his troops, hopefully to inspire them like it did the others. The Second Continental Congress appointed Paine secretary of the Committee of Foreign Affairs in 1777. .