Thomas Paine was one among thousands of British immigrants who arrived in America in the years just prior to Independence. Like Paine, these travelers left Britain seeking new opportunities and a better life in America. Setting aside his plans to start his own school, Paine quickly found work as a newspaper editor on The Pennsylvania Magazine. It was while working at the magazine that Paine became familiar with colonial politics. When word reached Philadelphia in 1775 that the British had fired upon colonists in Massachusetts, Paine was stunned. Perhaps because he was a recent émigré—seeking a life of peace and prosperity—the news of the Massachusetts battles struck Paine with unusual force. Years later he vividly recalled, “Scarcely had I put my foot into the country but it was set on fire about my ears.” 1 Paine confessed that, until he found out about Lexington and Concord, “I had no thoughts of independence or arms. The world could not then have persuaded me that I should be either a soldier or an author.” 2 However, immediately after he learned of the bloodshed in Massachusetts Paine eagerly cast his lot with the Patriots.