Thomas Paine Quotes

Thomas Paine (1737-1809), was an English intellectual, pamphleteer, author, inventor, revolutionary and one of the U.S. Founding Fathers.

 Paine spent 1790s in France and during this time, he became deeply involved in the Revolution. “The Rights of Man” is one of the most important Paine’s works, in which he defends the French Revolution. In 1792, Paine was elected to the French National Convention, although he did not speak French. Robespierre considered Paine an enemy. In 1793, Paine was arrested in Paris, but released in 1794. This was the time when “The Age of Reason” was created. This book promoted freethinking and reason and argued against Christian doctrines.

 Paine’s “Common Sense” was published in 1776, anonymously. This pamphlet signed by “an Englishman” had incredible success. Of all books in the U.S. history, this pamphlet had the greatest popularity and largest sale.

Thomas Paine Quotes

It is not a field of a few acres of ground, but a cause, that we are defending, and whether we defeat the enemy in one battle, or by degrees, the consequences will be the same.

— Thomas Paine

To say that any people are not fit for freedom, is to make poverty their choice, and to say they had rather be loaded with taxes than not.

— Thomas Paine

What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.

— Thomas Paine

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

— Thomas Paine

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

— Thomas Paine

The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world, as well as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them.

— 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.

— 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.

— Thomas Paine

It is an affront to treat falsehood with complaisance.

— Thomas Paine

He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression.

— Thomas Paine, 1795

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

— Thomas Paine

Character is much easier kept than recovered.

— 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.

— Thomas Paine

Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.

— Thomas Paine

A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.

— Thomas Paine

He who dares not to offend cannot be honest.

— Thomas Paine

Let them call me a rebel and I welcome it; I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of demons should I make a whore of my soul.

— Thomas Paine

My country is the world. My religion is to do good.

— Thomas Paine

But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants is the liberty of appearing.

— Thomas Paine

The instant formal government is abolished, society begins to act. A general association takes place, and common interest produces common security.

— Thomas Paine

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

— Thomas Paine

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

— Thomas Paine, The Crisis: Philadelphia; 12 September, 1777

The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason.

— Thomas Paine

The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

— Thomas Paine

Every science has for its basis a system of principles as fixed and unalterable as those by which the universe is regulated and governed. Man cannot make principles; he can only discover them.

— Thomas Paine

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

— Thomas Paine

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

— Thomas Paine

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

— 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.

— Thomas Paine, 1795

The greatest remedy for anger is delay.

— Thomas Paine

The strength and power of despotism consists wholly in the fear of resistance.

— Thomas Paine

A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.

— Thomas Paine