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|Wonder what Paine would have thought of skateboarding?|
Today is Thomas Paine Day, also known as Freethinkers Day. It also might be his birthday, though there's some question about that.
Thomas Paine (1737-1809) arrived in America in 1774 at Benjamin Franklin's urging. He was not a politician but a polemicist whose writings lit a fire under the revolution. He later went to France during its revolution, and according to accounts was once marked for the guillotine. (He had a hard time staying out of trouble.)
He was forward thinking in so many regards. Paine was a passionate advocate against slavery, and promoted the concept of trade guilds in Philadelphia, a forerunner to unions.
He had trouble obtaining and keeping money, and if I remember correctly he invested in a bad venture deal; too bad First Round Capital wasn't around then. He lived his later years in New Rochelle, and died in Greenwich Village. When his body was returned to New Rochelle for burial, the Quakers (the faith of his family) wouldn't bury him because of his anti-religious writings (he was, gasp!, a deist), so he was buried on his farm.
There are questions to this daya as to where various parts of his body are located.
When you look at the historical record, Paine didn't really live in Philly for that long.
But his 'free thinking' set an example for what Philadelphia has become today.
Actually, I think his remarkable and crazy life would provide better gist for a musical then, say, Hamilton's.