Thomas Paine Quotes

Thomas Paine (born January 29, 1737, Thetford, Norfolk, England—died June 8, 1809, New York, U.S.), was an English-born American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary.

He authored Common Sense and The American Crisis, two of the most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, and helped inspire the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Great Britain.

The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.

Other works that contributed to his reputation as one of the greatest political propagandists in history were Rights of Man, a defense of the French Revolution and of republican principles, and The Age of Reason, an exposition of the place of religion in society. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era ideals of transnational human rights.


Thomas Paine Quotes and Sayings

The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.

一 Thomas Paine


The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.

一 Thomas Paine


Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.

一 Thomas Paine


One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.

一 Thomas Paine


A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.

一 Thomas Paine


Character is much easier kept than recovered.

一 Thomas Paine


My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.

一 Thomas Paine


These are the times that try men's souls.

一 Thomas Paine


The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow.

一 Thomas Paine


Time makes more converts than reason.

一 Thomas Paine


Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise.

一 Thomas Paine


When it can be said by any country in the world, my poor are happy, neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them, my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars, the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive, the rational world is my friend because I am the friend of happiness. When these things can be said, then may that country boast its constitution and government. Independence is my happiness, the world is my country and my religion is to do good.

一 Thomas Paine


Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.

一 Thomas Paine


From the errors of other nations, let us learn wisdom.

一 Thomas Paine


To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.

一 Thomas Paine


The greatest remedy for anger is delay.

一 Thomas Paine


What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.

一 Thomas Paine


My own mind is my own church.

一 Thomas Paine


...taxes are not raised to carry on wars, but that wars are raised to carry on taxes.

一 Thomas Paine


Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.

一 Thomas Paine


It is from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder; for the belief of a cruel God makes a cruel man.

一 Thomas Paine


Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer...

一 Thomas Paine


If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.

一 Thomas Paine


I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.

一 Thomas Paine


Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.

一 Thomas Paine


Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

一 Thomas Paine


For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have the right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others forever, and tho' himself might deserve some decent degree of honours of his cotemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them.

一 Thomas Paine


Small islands, not capable of protecting themselves, are the proper objects for kingdoms to take under their care; but there is something absurd, in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island.

一 Thomas Paine


He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.

一 Thomas Paine


Nothing, they say is more certain than death, and nothing more uncertain than the time of dying.

一 Thomas Paine


To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

一 Thomas Paine


The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.

一 Thomas Paine


We have it in our power to begin the world over again.

一 Thomas Paine


It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.

一 Thomas Paine


An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot.

一 Thomas Paine


A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.

一 Thomas Paine


Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess.

一 Thomas Paine


He who dares not offend cannot be honest.

一 Thomas Paine


If I do not believe as you believe, it proves that you do not believe as I believe, and that is all that it proves.

一 Thomas Paine


Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.

一 Thomas Paine


Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law.

一 Thomas Paine


I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.

一 Thomas Paine


The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the sun, in which they put a man called Christ in the place of the sun, and pay him the adoration originally payed to the sun.

一 Thomas Paine


When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.

一 Thomas Paine


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. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.

一 Thomas Paine


Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, it renders the heart torpid or produces only atheists or fanatics. As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism, and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests, but so far as respects the good of man in general it leads to nothing here or hereafter.

一 Thomas Paine


Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man.

一 Thomas Paine


Let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarcy, that in America the law is King. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be King; and there ought to be no other.

一 Thomas Paine


It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.

一 Thomas Paine


Let them call me a rebel and welcome. I feel no concern from it. But should I suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul.

一 Thomas Paine


Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course or that a man should tell a lie? We have never seen, in our time, nature go out of her course. But we have good reason to believe that millions of lies have been told in the same time. It is therefore at least millions to one that the reporter of a miracle tells a lie.

一 Thomas Paine


All the tales of miracles, with which the Old and New Testament are filled, are fit only for impostors to preach and fools to believe.

一 Thomas Paine


Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

一 Thomas Paine


One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, is, that nature disapproves it, otherwise, she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ass for a lion.

一 Thomas Paine


Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.

一 Thomas Paine


That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of Nations is as shocking as it is true...

一 Thomas Paine


When it shall be said in any country in the world my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want; the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am a friend of its happiness: When these things can be said, there may that country boast its Constitution and its Government.

一 Thomas Paine


Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.

一 Thomas Paine


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