He was a famous writer whose words greatly influenced the leaders of the American Revolution.
Born in England, he became friends with Benjamin Franklin, who encouraged him to go to America.
He wrote and published the pamphlet "Common Sense" which demanded complete independence from Great Britain. It also stated a strong case against the monarchy and inherited privilege. It was the most widely distributed pamphlet in American history at that time - popular with the highly educated as well as the common man.
After "Common Sense," he published a series of pamphlets called "The Crises," which begins with the words, "These are the times that try men's souls." General George Washington read these pamphlets to his troops, which gave them great encouragement during the hardest times of the war.