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Thomas Paine Day

January 29

Freethinkers Day, also known as Thomas Paine Day, is an opportunity to promote appreciation of freethought thought the life and works of Thomas Paine. Freethought supports reason over faith, and rejects arbitrary authority.

Thomas Paine was a courageous freethinker, whose life and work inspired great social and political advancement across world. Raised in England, Paine played a vital role in the American and French Revolutions. His books and pamphlets, including The Age of Reason, The Rights of Man, and Common Sense gained a mass audience for the liberating philosophy of the Enlightenment.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) arrived in America in 1774 at Benjamin Franklin's request. On January 10, 1776, he published Common Sense, a remarkable and powerful republican pamphlet which had an immediate success. He served in the Revolutionary War under General Greene and later in official positions appointed by congress and in the Pennsylvania legislature. In his later publication, Age of Reason, Paine expressed that "all religions are in their nature mild and benign" when not associated with political systems. Paine was the quintessential Deist of the 18th century.

Between March 1791 and February 1792 he published numerous editions of his Rights of Man, in which he defended the French Revolution. The words of Thomas Paine inspired many to strive for political, economic and social advancement. He was among the first to call for an end to slavery and the establishment of human rights around the world.

In the 1990s, the Truthseeker magazine began celebrating Freethinkers Day on Thomas Paine's birthday in order to educate the public on the importance of Thomas Paine in the history of freedom. Also in the 1990s, the Thomas Paine Foundation began celebrating the birthday of Thomas Paine on January 29th, a Thomas Paine Day proclamation on June 8 and other Paine theme events during the year.

Event Resources

Thomas Paine Foundation
Thomas Paine Monument
Thomas Paine National Historical Association
Thomas Paine: An Unsung Hero
by Keith S Cornish - available on the Atheist Foundation of Australia web site.

Modern History Sourcebook:
Thomas Paine: Of the Religion of Deism Compared with the Christian Religion
Thomas Paine: Essays on Religion
Thomas Paine: Common Sense


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