The American Crisis was a series of pamphlets published from 1776 to 1783 during the American Revolution by eighteenth century Enlightenment philosopher and author Thomas Paine. The first volume begins with the famous words "These are the times that try men's souls". There were sixteen pamphlets in total together often known as "The American Crisis" or simply "The Crisis". Thirteen numbered pamphlets were published between 1776-1777 with three additional pamphlets released between 1777-1783. The writings were contemporaneous with the early parts of the American Revolution, during the times that colonists needed inspiring.
They were written in a language the common man could manage and are indicative of Paine's liberal philosophies. Paine signed them with one of his many pseudonyms "Common Sense". The writings bolstered the morale of the American colonists, appealed to the English people's consideration of the war with America, clarified the issues at stake in the war and denounced the advocates of a negotiated peace.
Thomas Paine (29 January 1737-8 June 1809) was an English pamphleteer, revolutionary, radical, inventor, and intellectual. He lived and worked in Britain until age 37, when he emigrated to the British American colonies, in time to participate in the American Revolution. His principal contribution was the powerful, widely-read pamphlet, Common Sense (1776), advocating colonial America's independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and of The American Crisis (1776-1783), a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series.
Later, he greatly influenced the French Revolution. He wrote the Rights of Man (1791), a guide to Enlightenment ideas. Despite not speaking French, he was elected to the French National Convention in 1792. The Girondists regarded him an ally, so, the Montagnards, especially Robespierre, regarded him an enemy. In December of 1793, he was arrested and imprisoned in Paris, then released in 1794. He became notorious because of The Age of Reason (1793-94), the book advocated deism and argued against Christian doctrines. In France, he also wrote the pamphlet Agrarian Justice (1795), discussing the origins of property, and introduced the concept of a guaranteed minimum income.
He remained in France during the early Napoleonic era, but condemned Napoleon's dictatorship, calling him "the completest charlatan that ever existed". In 1802, he returned to America at President Thomas Jefferson's invitation.
Thomas Paine died, at age 72, in No. 59 Grove Street, Greenwich Village, N.Y.C., on 8 June 1809. His burial site is located in New Rochelle, New York where he had lived after returning to America in 1802. His remains were later disinterred by an admirer looking to return them to England; his final resting place today is unknown.