FACT CHECK: Did Thomas Paine Say, ‘Give To Every Other Human Being Every Right That You Claim For Yourself’?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A Facebook post credits writer Thomas Paine with saying, “Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.”

Verdict: False

Paine did not author this statement. It is actually a line from orator Robert G. Ingersoll.

Fact Check: 

This quote has been falsely attributed to Paine for years. In fact, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey credited Paine as the source of the quote in a 2013 tweet. (RELATED: Did Thomas Jefferson Say This Quote About Term Limits?)

Though Paine wrote widely on the subject of rights, there is no record of him ever saying or writing the quote attributed to him in the Facebook post. It appears nowhere in his collected works.

The Daily Caller reached out to several experts, all of whom confirmed that the quote did not originate with Paine. Two experts – Thomas Paine National Historical Association Secretary Gary Berton and Yale University Library Associate Editor Philipp Ziesche – did note, however, that Paine probably would have agreed with its sentiment.

“This is not Paine, but it is his philosophy,” Berton told the Caller in an email. “I believe it is Robert Ingersoll, a great orator of the late 19th century who wrote and spoke in support of Paine’s philosophy.”

Indeed, the statement does come from Ingersoll’s 1877 work “The Liberty of Man, Woman, and Child.” In this work, Ingersoll writes, “This is my doctrine: Give every other human being every right you claim for yourself.”

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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