Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

“The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”

“Attempting to debate with a person who has abandoned reason is like giving medicine to the dead.”

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

“Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself – that is my doctrine.”

“Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.”

“The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government.”

“Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.”

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

“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: ’tis dearness only that gives everything 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.”

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

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in the crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

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

“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.”

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

“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.”

“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”

“Character is much easier kept than recovered.”

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

“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.”

“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.”

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

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

“The greatest remedy for anger is delay.”
“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.”

“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.”

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

“Time makes more converts than reason.”

“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.”

“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…”

“What we obtainly too cheap, we esteem too lightly. ‘Tis dearness only that gives everything it’s value. ”

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

“My own mind is my own church.”

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

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

“These are the times that try men’s souls.”

“I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.”

“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. ”

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

“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.”

“Man did not enter society to be worse off, or to have fewer rights, but rather to have those rights better secured”

“Society is produced by our wants and government by our wickedness.”

“When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.”

“The cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind.”

“It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself.”

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

“Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property… Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.”

“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.”

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

“Better fare hard with good men than feast it with bad.”

“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”

“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it the superficial appearance of being right”

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

“Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins … Society is in every state a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

“To believe that God created a plurality of worlds, at least as numerous as what we call stars, renders the Christian faith at once little and ridiculous; and scatters it in the mind like feathers in the air.”

“Mingling religion with politics may be disavowed and reprobated by every inhabitant of America.”

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

“Could the peaceable principle of the Quakers be universally established, arms and the art of war would be wholly extirpated: But we live not in a world of angels…I am thus far a Quaker, that I would gladly agree with all the world to lay aside the use of arms, and settle matters by negotiation: but unless the whole will, the matter ends, and I take up my musket and thank Heaven He has put it in my power.”

“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.”

“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.”

“The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall.”

“To reason with goverments, as they have existed for ages, is to argue with brutes. It is only from the nations themselves that reforms can be expected”

“The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.”

“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; but when those who are concerned in the government of a country, make it their study to sow discord and cultivate predjudices between nations, it becomes the more unpardonable.”

“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.”

“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly”

“I do not choose to be a common person. It is my right to be uncommon– if I can. I seek opportunity–not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the State look after me. I want to take the calculated risk–to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole; I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence, the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of Utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid, to think and to act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say, This, with God’s help, I have done. All this is what it means to be an Entrepreneur!”

“…for though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire.”

“Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but “show your faith by your works,” that God may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all.”

“I love the man that smiles at trouble: that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.”

“Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence…”

“Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe. It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime.”

“These are the times that try men’s souls…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 every thing value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods.”

“It is important that we should never lose sight of this distinction. We must not confuse the peoples with their governments…”

“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.”

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

“…taxes are not raised to carry on wars, but that wars are raised to carry on taxes”

“If there is a country in the world where concord, according to common calculation, would be least expected, it is America. Made up as it is of people from different nations, accustomed to different forms and habits of government, speaking different languages, and more different in their modes of worship, it would appear that the union of such a people was impracticable; but by the simple operation of constructing government on the principles of society and the rights of man, every difficulty retires, and all the parts are brought into cordial unison. There the poor are not oppressed, the rich are not privileged. Industry is not mortified by the splendid extravagance of a court rioting at its expense. Their taxes are few, because their government is just: and as there is nothing to render them wretched, there is nothing to engender riots and tumults.”

“He that is the author of war lets loose the whole contagion of hell and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death.”

“Lead, follow, or get out of the way!”

“I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe in the equality of humans; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow creatures happy.”

“The harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph.”

“Virtue is not hereditary.”

“We still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry and grasping at the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised to furnish new pretenses for revenue and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without a tribute.”

“The Almighty Lecturer, by displaying the principles of science in the structure of the universe, has invited man to study and to imitation. It is as if He has said to the inhabitants of this globe that we call ours, “I have made an earth for man to dwell upon, and I have rendered the starry heavens visible, to teach him science and the arts. He can now provide for his own comfort, and learn from my munificence to all to be kind to each other.”

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

“It was needless, after this, to say that all was vanity and vexation of spirit; for it is impossible to derive happiness from the company of those whom we deprive of happiness. ”

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

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

“It requires but a very small glance of thought to perceive, that although laws made in one generation often continue in force through succeeding generations, yet that they continue to derive their force from the consent of the living. A law not repealed continues in force, not because it cannot be repealed, but because it is not repealed; and the non repealing passes for consent.”

“Everything that is right or reasonable pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, ’tis time to part.”

“In the early ages of the world, according to the scripture chronology, there were no kings; the consequence of which was there were no wars; it is the pride of kings which throws mankind into confusion.”

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