Thomas Paine was a hugely influential revolutionary pamphleteer, whose writings were instrumental in bringing about some of the greatest political changes the world has seen. His mastery of language was rivalled only by Swift and Cobbett. British-born, he emigrated to America in 1775 where his pamphlet Common Sense (1776) was directly responsible for the coming about of American independence. The Rights of Man , published in 1791 became the founding text of the British working class movement. As part of his argument for man's natural rights Paine anticipated the Welfare State, arguing as early as 1797 for poor relief, old-age pensions and unemployment projects. Paine's enduring importance lies not so much in the depth of his political philosophy as in his great abilities as a communicator of political ideas. Conway's Writings was the first complete critical collection of Paine's works and his Life was the first account to show Paine in a positive light. Founded upon thorough and elaborate research, it includes what were hitherto unpublished documents such as a sketch of Paine by William Cobbett.