The first recorded usage of the french term nom de plume (pen name) didn't occur until 1823. François-Marie Arouet (1694 - 1778) preceded that date by almost fifty years. But he was known then, as his is now, by the famous nom de plume,.
Voltaire was a man of many talents. As writer he was able to work in many forms including plays, poems, novels, essays, historical, and scientific works. As a political philosopher he was famous for his attacks on established religion, particularly the Catholic Church, and he was an advocate for the freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and the separation of church and state. Ideas which would late be enshrined into the United States Constitution.
"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."
"The best is the enemy of the good."
"The perfect is the enemy of the good."
"God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."
"It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong."
"It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one."
"The more thoroughly I conduct scientific experiments, the more I am convinced that chance favors the prepared mind."
"We must cultivate our own garden. When man was put in the garden of Eden he was put there so that he should work, which proves that man was not born to rest."
"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."
"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."