Today is Freethinker’s Day

Freethinker’s Day falls on the birthday of Thomas Paine, a political philosopher and freethinker who influenced the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution and the French Revolution. Paine condemned the practice of slavery in his African Slavery in America and published his most famous work, Common Sense in 1776 just six months before the issuance of the Declaration of Independence.

A freethinker is someone who has rejected authority and dogma, especially in his religious thinking, in favour of rational inquiry and speculation, according to The American Heritage Dictionary.

Paine was known for his controversial essays that alienated people because of their politics and religious beliefs. In 1796, he wrote a diatribe against George Washington that added more fuel to the persisting resentment against him. When Paine returned to the U.S. in 1802, he was practically ostracised and died in poverty seven years later.

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