On the 200th anniversary of his death, this programme examines the role and legacy of Thomas Paine, founding father of the American Revolution. Born in Norfolk, the son of a Quaker corset maker, Paine went on to become one of the most influential men in history. Planting the seeds of revolution in the minds of Americans, farmers and intellectuals alike, Paine created prose that stirred the hearts of the fledgling United States and quickly became known as the voice of the common man. With a direct call to all Americans in 1776 to fight against British colonial rule and gain independence, the 18th century revolutionary had a grand vision for society and a deep-seated belief in human freedom and integrity. Paine’s ideas continue to inspire, not least his belief that “we have it in our power to begin the world over again”.