The Something Cool for this post: Thomas Paine. Oh, you haven't heard of Thomas Paine? Well, let me tell you about Thomas Paine.
He was born in England (1737), where he had to quit school at age 13 to be an apprentice to his father. He later started a business that collapsed, leaving him in financial ruin. After that, both his wife and her unborn child died in childbirth. Instead of giving up on life, he decided to move to the American colonies and spark a revolution, because he's MOTHERF@*#ING THOMAS PAINE. After almost dying on the voyage, he wrote Common Sense, a pamphlet that became the bestselling book in the colonies and is often credited with inciting the colonies to revolt against Great Britain. He also wrote the Crisis papers, which motivated the revolutionary army in times of peril. After this success in America, he decided to go get involved in the French revolution, because he's MOTHERF@*#ING THOMAS PAINE, where he wrote another pamphlet (The Rights of Man). As the revolution became bloodier, however, he began to protest the multiple beheadings, including that of King Louis XVI. He was subsequently thrown in French jail for treason. Assuming he was going to be executed, he wrote The Age of Reason, a critique of organized religion. He ended up being released, though he met more financial ruin in England (He didn't get any money from the sale of Common Sense) and, when he tried to move back to America, he was alienated because he had supported the French revolution. He died alone, and no Christian church would take his body for burial. His bones were later dug up and lost.
So that's Thomas Paine, one of the most inspirational founding fathers with one of the saddest personal histories ever.
More information on Thomas Paine (including all of his pamphlets): http://www.ushistory.org/paine.