The Political Philosophy of Thomas Paine

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-12-13
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins Univ Pr
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This concise, insightful study explores the sources and impact of one of the early republic's most influential minds. An Englishman by birth, an American by choice and necessity, Thomas Paine advocated ideas about rights, equality, democracy, and liberty that were far advanced beyond those of his American compatriots. His seminal works, Common Sense and the Rights of Man, were rallying cries for the American and French Revolutions. More than any other eighteenth-century political writer and activist, Paine defies easy categorization. A man of contrasts and contradictions, Paine was as much a believer in the power of reason as he was in a benevolent deity. He was at once liberal and conservative, a Quaker who was not a pacifist, and an inherently gifted writer who was convinced he was always right. Jack Fruchtman Jr. analyzes Paine's radical thought both in the context of his time and as a blueprint for the future development of republican government. His systematic approach identifies the themes of signal importance to Paine's political thought, demonstrating especially how crucial religion and God were to the development and expression of his political ideals.

Author Biography

Jack Fruchtman Jr. is a professor of political science at Towson University and author of Atlantic Cousins: Benjamin Franklin and His Visionary Friends, The Supreme Court: Rulings on American Government and Society, and Thomas Paine and the Religion of Nature, also published by Johns Hopkins.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Paine's Political Thought in Historical Contextp. 15
Faith and Reason, Human Nature and Sociabilityp. 28
Common Sense, Authority, and Autonomyp. 56
Permanent Revolution and Constitution Makingp. 77
From a "Hamiltonian" Spirit to Public Welfarep. 103
Public Spirit, Civic Engagement, and Evolutionary Changep. 134
Conclusionp. 151
Appendix: A Note on Paine j American National Consciousnessp. 157
Notep. 167
Recommended Readingp. 205
Indexp. 207
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