Par Ryan Zickgraf

Since news broke of Elizabeth II’s death at age ninety-six, US social media has been awash with tributes, memes, and merciless dunks on the deceased queen — the latter of which have ruffled some feathers. Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO who helped modernize empire for the age of the corporation, took offense to linguistics professor Uju Anya describing the late queen as the monarch of a “thieving raping genocidal empire.” “This is someone supposedly working to make the world better? I don’t think so. Wow,” Bezos tweeted in response. Twitter appeared to agree; its moderators deleted Anya’s post. Bezos and other American royal sycophants could use a reminder that Anya has a kindred spirit in the Founding Fathers — especially one in particular. No one savaged the English throne quite like Thomas Paine, an eighteenth-century magazine writer and editor, whose forty-seven-page pamphlet Common Sense went viral in the American colonies when it was published in January 1776. Part of the popularity of Paine’s prose was the biting edge of his takes on the mother country, which now read like cantankerous tweets.

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