Today in History, December 28, 1793:
Ever been given the sage advice to stay out of other people’s quarrels because the combatants tend to turn on you?
Thomas Paine, much respected author of “Common Sense” which inspired the rebels in the American Revolution, learned this lesson the hard way.
When the American Revolution was over, and the French Revolution was in progress, Paine moved to France for the express purpose of becoming involved in that conflict (bored? Wanted attention?).
He was received as a hero by the French revolutionaries, even being awarded honorary French citizenship.
Paine was devoutly, and vocally, anti-death penalty…which didn’t set well with the French Revolutionaries who were in the middle of sending their former enemies to the guillotine.
He was arrested and, thanks to his honorary citizenship, charged with treason.
He was treated well in captivity, and it was less than a year before diplomatic pressure from America saw his release.
Paine returned home after an American uproar over his imprisonment.
While in prison he wrote another book, “The Age of Reason” in which he denounced organized religion and said man had no influence from God.
The publication of this book took him from war hero to pariah.