Paine, Thomas. (1737 - 1809).
L i f e
>> left for Philadelphia on the eve of the American Revolution
- edited the journal Pennsylvania Magazine, or American Museum, published his numerous topical essays
- became a popular advocate of independence
W o r k
- his most famous pamphlet on the source and function of government
- made use of conversational idioms of taverns, coffee-houses, and street-corner oratory
- advocated the “Declaration of Independence”
- made him the spokesman of the American Revolution
- pamphlets encouraging the failing troops of the Revolutionary forces
< his own experience as an enlisted volunteer
The Rights of Man:
- advocated the ‘natural rights’: independence, personal freedom, freedom of speech, and franchise
- defended the French Revolution which he observed himself
The Age of Reason:
- praised both an impersonal God and the common people
- defended Deism
=> reproached and persecuted for his criticism of the Bible, called a ‘filthy little atheist’ by T. Roosevelt x but: his humanitarian impulses shaped much of the new nation’s thinking of the ‘natural rights’ and independence
"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself".
From "First Principles of Government" (1795).
(Painting: George Romney. 1792. Source: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorThomas Paine. (1737 - 1809). British.
WorkLibertarian. Revolutionary. Author of The Rights of Man (1791).
GenresPolitical pamphlets. Essays.
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