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Thomas Paine (1) (1737–1809)

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About the Author

Born to parents with Quaker leanings, Thomas Paine grew up amid modest circumstances in the rural environs of Thetford, England. As the recipient of what he termed "a good moral education and a tolerable stock of useful learning," little in Paine's early years seemed to suggest that he would one näytä lisää day rise to a stunning defense of American independence in such passionate and compelling works as Common Sense (1776) and The American Crisis essays (1776-83). Paine's early years were characterized by a constant struggle to remain financially solvent while pursuing a number of nonintellectual activities. Nevertheless, the young Paine read such Enlightenment theorists as Isaac Newton and John Locke and remained dedicated to the idea that education was a lifelong commitment. From 1753 to 1759, Paine worked alternately as a sailor, a staymaker, and a customs officer. Between 1759 and 1772, he married twice. His first wife died within a year of their marriage, and Paine separated amicably from his second wife after a shop they operated together went bankrupt. While these circumstances seemed gloomy, Paine fortuitously made the acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin in London in 1773. Impressed by Paine's self-education, Franklin encouraged the young man to venture to America where he might prosper. Arriving in Philadelphia in 1774, Paine quickly found himself energized by the volatile nature of Revolutionary politics. Working as an editor of Pennsylvania Magazine, Paine found a forum for his passionate radical views. In the years that followed, Paine became increasingly committed to American independence, and to his conviction that the elitist and corrupt government that had ruled over him in England had little business extending its corrosive colonial power to the States. Moved by these beliefs, Paine published Common Sense (1776), a test that proved invaluable in unifying American sentiment against British rule. Later, after joining the fray as a soldier, Paine penned the familiar lines in "The American Crisis": "These are the times that try men's souls." Fifteen years later, Paine wrote his other famous work, Rights of Man (1791). Drawing on his eclectic experiences as a laborer, an international radical politician, and a revolutionary soldier, Paine asserted his Lockeian belief that since God created humans in "one degree only," then rights should be equal for every individual. (Bowker Author Biography) näytä vähemmän
Image credit: From Wikimedia Commons


Tekijän teokset

Common Sense (1776) 5,020 kappaletta
Rights of Man (1791) 2,269 kappaletta
The Age of Reason (1794) 1,491 kappaletta
Common Sense and Other Writings (2005) 512 kappaletta
The Rights of Man and Common Sense (1992) 327 kappaletta
The Thomas Paine Reader (1987) 275 kappaletta
The Crisis (1776) 228 kappaletta
Paine: Political Writings (1978) 131 kappaletta
Selected Writings of Thomas Paine (1943) 90 kappaletta
Common Sense and the Crisis (1776) 89 kappaletta
Common Sense and Other Works (2019) 41 kappaletta
The Living Thoughts of Tom Paine (1946) 40 kappaletta
Age of Reason, Part 1 (Paine) (1957) 38 kappaletta
Keystone of Democracy (2005) 32 kappaletta
The Theological Works (1879) 14 kappaletta
The writings of Thomas Paine (1906) 7 kappaletta
Escritos políticos (1964) — Avustaja — 7 kappaletta
Krise (2009) 5 kappaletta
Selected Work of Tom Paine (1945) 4 kappaletta
Rights of man. pt. 2 (2012) 4 kappaletta
Age of Reason Part 2 (2001) 3 kappaletta
Compact maritime 2 kappaletta
Works (2013) 2 kappaletta
Rights of Man, Part I (1892) 1 kappale
Direitos do Homem Livro 1 (1998) 1 kappale
Federal orrery 1 kappale
Liberty tree (1864) 1 kappale

Associated Works

Americans in Paris: A Literary Anthology (2004) — Avustaja — 293 kappaletta
Atheism: A Reader (2000) — Avustaja — 181 kappaletta
Meeting of Minds: First Series (1978) — Subject — 55 kappaletta
The Dissenters : America's Voices of Opposition (1993) — Avustaja — 34 kappaletta
Writing Politics: An Anthology (2020) — Avustaja — 33 kappaletta
American Literature: The Makers and the Making (In Two Volumes) (1973) — Avustaja, eräät painokset25 kappaletta
The Druid Revival Reader (2011) — Avustaja — 19 kappaletta

Merkitty avainsanalla




Thomas Paine and Common Sense, American History (tammikuu 2007)


Stirring and persuasive, Thomas Paine's short polemic Common Sense retains the passion and immediacy of the moment in which it was written: 1776, with Paine's fellow Americans in rebellion against their British parent. On one level, it is an argument against monarchy in general, but from this angle it is quite limited. Excitable and populist, using naked rhetoric to appeal to the emotions of its intended audience, it lacks the rigour such an argument requires – though it is still fun to read. Paine's appeals to Scripture to validate his case seem cynical given the atheism – or at least anti-theism – he espoused.

However, the argument against monarchy is merely the platform on which Paine pursues his true cause. Common Sense is primarily a plea for Paine's fellow Americans to seize their moment and establish their independence, for "no nation under heaven hath such an advantage as this" (pg. 54). He is right – America at that moment possessed strategic and commercial advantages, raw materials, reasonable military power, favourable political circumstances and politicians with the calibre to exploit them. It had momentum, and it's fascinating to detect the note of desperation, or at least unease, in Paine's writing here, that that momentum may be squandered.

We might look back now and see the United States as inevitable, given those advantages and circumstances, but might forget that it was Paine, among others, working frantically at the bellows. In this slight pamphlet, intended for a general audience, we can find the seeds of much of the United States' perception of itself; its political exceptionalism, its libertarian sensibility and its appeal to noble ideals. (We might also, perhaps a bit uncharitably, detect America's selective pursuit of those ideals, such as in Paine's off-hand dismissal of the "Indians and Negroes" who the British "hath stirred up… to destroy us" (pg. 45).)

A stable society, Paine writes in one of his more sober and analytical moments, involves a healthy and mutually-supportive relationship between government and governed; "this frequent interchange will establish a common interest… on this (and not on the unmeaning name of king) depends the strength of government, and the happiness of the governed" (pg. 8). 'Common sense', then, has a double meaning as Paine's title. It is not just Paine proposing that his argument is the only one that makes sense, the only one that discards of the nonsense of kings. The polemic, in its passion for an American republic borne out of revolution, provided for Americans a common sense, a shared vision or idea, of what they should seek to be.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
MikeFutcher | 56 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 4, 2023 |
I read this in college. The second time reading it, I was even more awed by the insightfulness of Paine. His view of politics is just as relevant today as it was when he wrote it. Sad that history keeps repeating the same political experiments, with new generations expecting different results.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
JoniMFisher | 28 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 26, 2023 |
Merkitty asiattomaksi
laplantelibrary | Feb 15, 2023 |



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