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"These are the times that try Men's souls. Let it be told...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it and to repulse it." Thomas Paine, the author of those words in 1776, apropos even today, died 200 years ago as a pauper, and was shunned by his friends and the public. His reputation has much improved since then, and this online and offline exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution allows visitors to indulge in the wisdom of his words. Divided into four sections, the exhibit is immensely readable, with an intriguing quote at the beginning of the paragraph that accompanies each section, and informative descriptions that tell the story of each of the paintings, drawings, and pamphlets that make up the exhibit. Perhaps the most radical of the founding fathers, Paine's words have been repeated my many including Ronald Reagan when he accepted his presidential nomination and Barack Obama during his inaugural address.
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