Has the U.S. ever minted a commemorative coin with the portrait of Thomas Paine? Paper currency, medal, same question.
There are never been a U.S. Government issued commemorative coin, or to my knowledge, ever an appearance of Thomas Paine on a piece of paper currency. There have been private issues.
There were some savagely satirical pieces that the British made privately. They showed him hanging from a noose with the phrase, “End of Pain,” above the scaffold. It was concerned with his support of the French Revolution. I’ll post pictures over the weekend.
Here are photos of a British, anti-Thomas Paine token.
At first the British were happy to see the downfall of the French monarchy. Then they saw what the French Revolution became and feared that it would spread to the rest of crowned heads of Europe. Thomas Paine, who supported the French Revolution became a hated man. As you can see, they were not subtle in expressing their opinions.
This piece was struck circa 1795.
When you get old, you tend to forget things. After a Google search, I found that I had written this essay on Tom Paine in 2015. I hope that you enjoy it.
Here is a piece, which is actually a British Condor token, that U.S. political collectors include in their collections of 18th and 19th century tokens. This piece features a man hanging from a scaffold and the phrase “End of Pain.” The reverse features the slogan, “May the knave of Jacobin clubs never get a trick.”
The “End of Pain” slogan refers to Thomas Paine, the extremely influential political philosopher who wrote common sense, the pamphlet that helped to ignite the American Revolution. How did a Patriot like Paine end up hanging on a token, and how did this token become a campaign tool for an American political party? Stay tuned.
Thomas Pain earned his place in history during the American Revolutionary War. After publishing Common Sense in January 1776 he followed it up with the Crisis papers which urged Americans to continue to support the cause. These works are best known for their opening line, “These are times that try men’s souls.”
Paine returned to his native England in 1787. He was most happy when he was either fermenting revolution or supporting it, and in that vein he published a number of works in support of British radicalism. Among his reforms were a system of progressive taxation, retirement benefits and public employment. Paine got on the wrong side of the people in power when he advocated an end to the British monarchy. That earned him a charge of sedition which prompted him to flee to France and the French Revolution.
Paine become one of the few foreigners who got a seat at the French National Convention, but his quarrelsome nature soon got him in trouble again. After opposing the execution of the French king and queen, the Jacobins tossed Paine into prison.
After his release Paine wrote his last, great work, The Age of Reason. In this work, Paine attacked the basic principles of Christianity and explored the concepts of deism. Deism centers upon the belief that God created the earth and the universe, set it into motion and then left it all to its own devices without his intervention. It is known that Thomas Jefferson shared a similar view, which got him into political trouble from time to time.
After the publication of The Age of Reason, Paine because a very unpopular figure among evangelical Christians. When he returned to the United State in 1802 he mostly ignored or ostracized. When he died in 1809 only six people attended his funeral.
The token that is pictured above was issued during the time when Paine was participating in the French Revolutionary government. At the time most influential Englishmen and other upper class Europeans viewed the Revolutionary France in much same way as many Americans viewed the Soviet Union. It was a “contagion” that had to be contained or better still eradicated.
Thomas Jefferson and many members of his Democratic-Republican Party strongly supported the French Revolution and called for the United States to help defend it. For a long time, he ignored the excesses of Revolution, most obviously the Rein of Terror which resulted in the execution of many innocent people. John Adams and the Federalists
I’d describe Thomas Paine as a center-left populist and Donald Trump as a center-right populist.