Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737 (NS February 9, 1737)-- June 8, 1809) was an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the America Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called 'a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination.' Born in Thetford, England, in the county of Norfolk, Paine emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 with the help of Benjamin Franklin and he arrivied in time to participate in the American Revolution.