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Famous Ancestor: Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine, a poor corsetmaker, came to the colonies from England in 1774, just in time to participate in the American Revolution. He published his famed pamphlet Common Sense anonymously in Philadelphia in January of 1776.

Unlike earlier revolutionaries, who had criticized Parliament's taxation of the colonies but not the king himself, Paine attacked King George as a tyrant and denounced the institution of monarchy on the grounds that all men were created equal. He used Biblical language to condemn King George, calling him the "Pharaoh of England" and comparing his taxation of the colonies to the oppression of the Israelites by Solomon. He wrote:

"But where, some say, is the King of America? I'll tell you, Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind...let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know...that in America THE LAW IS KING. For in absolute governments the King is the law, so in free countries the law ought to be the King."

From 1776 to 1783, Paine published a pamphlet series entitled The American Crisis, in which he wrote the famed words, "These are the times that try men's souls," and argued for the revolutionary cause.

To view Thomas Paine's Family Tree, login to OneGreatFamily, launch Genealogy Browser, and enter OGFN#596897443. You can also see whether or not you are related to Thomas Paine by going to the Relationship Calculator on the Family Dashboard Page when you login to OneGreatFamily.

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