Thomas Paine is rightly referred to as the “forgotten” Founder. We remember Washington, Jefferson, and Adams, but too often overlook the first person to write the momentous words “the United States of America.” With his first two books, Common Sense and The American Crisis, Paine helped a majority of American colonists to think of themselves, for the first time, as citizens of a new nation, the United States of America. And it was Paine who, through the power of the pen, encouraged the colonists to declare their independence; to fight for their freedom and ultimately win the Revolutionary War.

The title of this new and timely work, These Are the Times That Try Men’s Souls, edited by John Armor, is arguably the most powerful single sentence Paine ever wrote. Without the first victory won by General Washington’s troops at Trenton, the day after Christmas in 1776, the cause of America would have been lost. To inspire his troops, General Washington had Chapter I of Paine’s latest work read to his troops just before they set out in a snow storm to cross the Delaware at night to launch their attack on Trenton—an historic victory that changed the entire outcome of America’s struggle for Independence.

Thomas Paine’s words have not lost their power with the passage of over two centuries. Paine’s writing about dictators who were called kings is just as applicable today, although his “kings” are now replaced by presidents, generals, and prime ministers. These Are the Times that Try Men’s Souls eloquently connects the life and times of Thomas Paine with the modern crises facing America. We, the American people, once again face threats to our freedom and liberty; political and economic events that threaten the very existence of the United States. These are the times that try men’s souls.


John Armor is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Maryland Law School. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Political Science, and practiced in the US Supreme Court for 33 years. This is his eighth book.

What They Are Saying:

“In These Are the Times That Try Men’s Souls John Armor demonstrates how Thomas Paine’s writing helped create the spirit of America at the Founding of the Country, and how these words are equally applicable to the challenges facing us today. This is a valuable historical and literary resource for the reader who wants to explore the enduring character of our nation.”—Edwin Meese, III, former United States Attorney General

“At once both timeless and topical, the words of Thomas Paine that were so influential in the 18th century have been restored for the 21st century by the remarkable editing of John Armor. A new generation of American patriots—Tea Partiers, among many other ordinary citizens—will learn that their contemporary cause aspires to the same ideal as Paine’s: freedom. This book will become a classic in the literature of liberty.”—Colin A. Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring

“John Armor has compiled a lucid, indispensable guide to the freewheeling and historically significant thoughts of one of America’s most intellectually provocative Founders. This is a must read book and an invaluable addition to any American heritage library.”—Ken Blackwell, former Ohio Secretary of State

“The author and sponsors of this elegantly constructed volume of Paine’s writings have reminded us that the ‘American Crisis’ of his day is also the burning question that confronts our own generation: how can Americans come together to defeat the clear and present dangers to our liberty?  May Tom Paine’s call to arms resound in the ears of citizen-patriots across the land.”—T. Kenneth Cribb Jr., President, Intercollegiate Studies Institute