France, 1792 - 1802

My friends were falling as fast as the guillotine could cut their heads off and . . . I every day expected the same fate.
    – Thomas Paine to Samuel Adams, January 1, 1803

Greeted with applause in France and made an honorary citizen in 1792, Thomas Paine took his seat in the National Convention eager—although he spoke no French—to help write a new constitution for a republic rooted in freedom and equality. After the execution of King Louis XVI in January 1793 and the ascent of the radical Jacobins to power, Paine, caught up in the Reign of Terror, barely escaped being sent to the guillotine. He emerged from more than ten months of imprisonment enraged that President George Washington had done nothing to secure his release, and sent off an open letter to America denouncing the president in the harshest terms.


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  Click to enlarge imageThomas Paine
Laurent Dabos,(1761–1835)
Oil on canvas, c. 1792
  Click to enlarge imageThe End of Pain
Engraving, 1793
  Click to enlarge imageThe Age of Reason, being an Investigation of True and of Fabulous Theology, 1794  
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  Click to enlarge imageGeorge Washington, 1732–1799
Edward Savage (1761–1817)
Mezzotint, 1793

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