Thomas Paine, “The Crisis” (December 23, 1776)
[While Paine’s birthday is listed in some sources as January 29, 1736, others cite a date of February 9, 1737. This reflects the change in calendars in Great Britain and American colonies. The January date is “Old Style.”]
THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.
Note: Most of these Who Said It posts have focused on the words of American presidents. This quote from Thomas Paine is a shift to quotes from other key figures in American History. Learn more about Thomas Paine’s life at the Thomas Paine Society.