Return to America, 1802 - 1809
You can have no idea of the agitation which my arrival occasioned.
– Thomas Paine to an English friend, March 8, 1803
Back in his adopted country after a fifteen-year absence, Thomas Paine found that the memory of his important service to the cause of American independence had been overshadowed by indignation engendered by The Age of Reason, wherein, Paine acknowledged, he had gone “marching through the Christian forest with an axe.” The Federalist press had a field day, calling him, among other things, “an outrageous blasphemer,” a “lying, drunken, brutal infidel,” and a “lilly-livered sinful rogue.” Paine, undaunted, shot back at the “Terrorists of the new world” who were “bellowing in all the hacknied language of hacknied hypocrisy, about humanity, and piety, and often about something they call infidelity, and they finish with the chorus of Crucify him, crucify him.”
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