Sunday, June 01, 2008

Tom Paine

Tom Paine (1737-1809)

Historical Essay

By Richard E. Noble

Whatever happened to Tom Paine? Where are the statues and monuments to Tom Paine? Where is his "tomb"? Never mind his tomb, where are his bones? His bones pilfered and scattered all over the world, sold for profit by grave robbers.
Tom Paine, possibly THE most dedicated patriot of the American Revolution. Without Tom Paine, George Washington, whose bought and paid for supplies for the battle at Valley Forge had already been sold to the British in a double cross by an unscrupulous American businessman would have been swinging from a cherry tree. At General George's begging Tom scribbled off a little piece of work that inspired his class. His "class" being those without the shoes, without the property, without the money, and after the revolution, without the vote and without their promised back pay, who fought in the streets and under the bridges and won the American Revolution for all of those little rich boys that we read about in our history books. This particular scribbling began, "These are the times that try men's souls..." Even George, himself, admitted that without this little piece of writing it may have been all over for the good guys.
Tom Paine, a grocery store clerk, and then a corset maker with no formal education was the man who inspired the soldiers of the American Revolution. They nick-named him, Common Sense, from the title of one of his other works. A work in which he challenged the authority of the Kings of the World, and their smartest and brightest defenders.
Tom Paine not only wrote the inspirational material that sparked the Revolution, but unlike his little rich buddies who, in the end all sold him out, including Old George who left him in the Bastille in France to rot, never made a penny from any of his writings. He gave any profits to the Revolutionary Treasury.
Tom Paine, the man who escaped from England by the skin of his teeth, the King's number one most wanted, the man who wrote his last great work, "The Age of Reason" while sitting in the Bastille in revolutionary France awaiting his turn at the guillotine ... So whatever happen to old Tom, and his Tom-foolery?
If you don't know but would like to know, take a trip to your local library and find out. The answer you may find quite shocking, but really, it's not so surprising.