With the help of Benjamin Franklin, Paine migrated to the English colonies in 1774.
From 1775–1776, he continued to write advocating for the independence of the colonies from Great Britain, and his 49-page book, Common Sense, was published anonymously on January 10, 1776.
This book, read aloud in taverns and meeting places, made a persuasive case for independence. Paine kept his anonymity for only three months. It was said that “without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.” During his experience as a soldier during the American Revolution (1776–1783 with Nathaniel Greene), he was inspired to write The American Crisis.
Three famous quotes from the writings of Thomas Paine often are remembered:
“Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.”
“A government of our own is our natural right.”
“These 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 it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
Paine left for Europe in 1787 and continued his writings while promoting changes in both Britain and France. After much political activity and governmental changes, he returned to New York in 1803. He died in 1809.