Preferred Name

Jason R. Patterson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

ORCID 0000-0002-0413-9566

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


Kevin Hardwick

Robert Brown

Michael Gubser

Andrew Witmer


Thomas Paine was one of the most prolific writers in the Age of Revolutions. His writings can be analyzed from a political, philosophical, humanitarian, or religious point of view. However, it was Paine's use of religious rhetoric that ultimately led to the demise of his character and reputation as a popular actor in the American Revolution. Most historiography on Paine focuses in on one of the mentioned perspectives, leaving out a much larger narrative or arch of Paine's life. This thesis will cover a series of Paine's writings beginning with his first, The Case of the Officers of Excise (1772), written in England before his arrival to the colonies and end with, Age of Reason (1794), written in France during the revolution. This thesis will also show how Paine's use of religious rhetoric changed over time, with the hope of giving more insight to Paine's thoughts. Paine's diary was his writings and the only way to examine Paine is by examining his writings and correspondences. To help accomplish this, an array of primary sources is used in this thesis, along with recent historiography where Paine makes appearances. By piecing these sources together, a much larger narrative on Paine and his religious thinking can be told.



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