PAINE IN HIS OWN WORDS:
prepared by Harvey J. Kaye, UWGB
Paine quickly expressed his view of America’s prospects and possi...
But he believed in the naturalness of Democratic government:
In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end ...
2/PAINE IN HIS OWN WORDS:
-OF MONARCHY AND HEREDITARY SUCCESSION-
Paine insisted that equality preceded inequality – and h...
and will be more or less affected, even to the end of time, by the proceedings now. Now is the
seed time of continental un...
3/PAINE IN HIS OWN WORDS:
He portrayed the connection to Britain as a liability:
Europe is too thickly planted with kingdo...
according to the dictates of conscience…
And he made clear that the Law would govern American life, not monarchs!
But wher...
4/PAINE IN HIS OWN WORDS:
Paine – the immigrant – envisioned America as a refuge for those who loved and needed
Liberty:
O...
of freedom from the event of a few months.
And looking back in the midst of the struggle, Paine reflected:
I happened to c...
5/PAINE IN HIS OWN WORDS:
FROM THE AMERICAN CRISIS #1 (December 23, 1776)
Paine’s most stirring – and most quoted – words,...
FROM RIGHTS OF MAN, Parts 1 & 2 (1791-1792)
– Paine’s great contribution to the British struggle for democracy and his
def...
6/PAINE IN HIS OWN WORDS:
He had confidence in America:
By ingrafting representation upon democracy, we arrive at a system...
impracticable; but by the simple operation of constructing government on the principles of
society and the rights of man, ...
7/PAINE IN HIS OWN WORDS:
FROM THE AGE OF REASON (1793-1795)
– his Deist statement against both Atheism and Organized Reli...
Breakout 5A (Harvey Kaye) - "Paine in His Own Words".doc
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Breakout 5A (Harvey Kaye) - "Paine in His Own Words".doc

  1. 1. PAINE IN HIS OWN WORDS: prepared by Harvey J. Kaye, UWGB Paine quickly expressed his view of America’s prospects and possibilities: Degeneracy is here almost a useless word. Those who are conversant with Europe would be tempted to believe that even the air of the Atlantic disagrees with the constitution of foreign vices; if they survive the voyage, they either expire on their arrival, or linger away in an incurable consumption. There is a happy something which disarms them of all their power both of infection and attraction. ”The Magazine in America,” Pennsylvania Magazine, January 24, 1775. But he also warned of America’s dangerous contradictions: That some desperate wretches should be willing to steal and enslave men by violence and murder for gain, is rather lamentable than strange. But that many civilized, nay, Christianized people should approve, and be concerned in the savage practice, is surprising. “African Slavery in America," Pennsylvania Journal, March 8, 1775. And he came to see Independence as the answer to British oppressions: When I reflect on these [horrid cruelties], I hesitate not for a moment to believe that the Almighty will finally separate America from Britain. Call it independence or what you will, if it is the cause of God and humanity it will go on. And when the Almighty shall have blest us, and made us a people dependent only upon him, then may our first gratitude be shown by an act of continental legislation, which shall put a stop to the importation of Negroes for sale, soften the hard fate of those already here, and in time procure their freedom “A Serious Thought,” Pennsylvania Journal, October 18, 1775. FROM COMMON SENSE Paine saw the American Revolution in world-historic terms: The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind… -OF THE ORIGIN AND DESIGN OF GOVERNMENT- Paine attacked [existing?] Government as Oppressive: Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil…
  2. 2. But he believed in the naturalness of Democratic government: In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of government, let us suppose a small number of persons settled in some sequestered part of the earth, unconnected with the rest… Some convenient tree will afford them a State-House, under the branches of which, the whole colony may assemble to deliberate on public matters. It is more than probable that their first laws will have the title only of REGULATIONS, and be enforced by no other penalty than public disesteem. In this first parliament every man, by natural right, will have a seat.
  3. 3. 2/PAINE IN HIS OWN WORDS: -OF MONARCHY AND HEREDITARY SUCCESSION- Paine insisted that equality preceded inequality – and he used the Bible to make his case: Mankind being originally equals in the order of creation, the equality could only be destroyed by some subsequent circumstance…Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens, from whom the children of Israel copied the custom. It was the most prosperous invention the Devil ever set on foot for the promotion of idolatry… As the exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified on the equal rights of nature, so neither can it be defended on the authority of scripture… Paine also used history to undermine attachment to King and Crown: A French bastard [William the Conqueror] landing with an armed banditti, and establishing himself king of England against the consent of the natives, is in plain terms a very paltry rascally original. – It certainly hath no divinity in it... The plain truth is, that the antiquity of English monarchy will not bear looking into. And mockery as well: One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, is, that nature disapproves it, otherwise she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule by giving mankind an ass for a lion. The best form of government was a Republic; The nearer any government approaches to a republic the less business there is for a king… -THOUGHTS ON THE PRESENT STATE OF AMERICAN AFFAIRS- Paine distinguished his writing from that of the elites (who spoke only to each other): In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense… And he reiterated America’s world-historic opportunity AND responsibility: The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth. 'Tis not the affair of a city, a county, a province, or a kingdom, but of a continent - of at least one eighth part of the habitable globe. 'Tis not the concern of a day, a year, or an age; posterity are virtually involved in the contest,
  4. 4. and will be more or less affected, even to the end of time, by the proceedings now. Now is the seed time of continental union, faith and honour...Our strength is continental not provincial. He challenged Americans’ attachment to England/Britain: Europe, not England, is the parent country of America… This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe.
  5. 5. 3/PAINE IN HIS OWN WORDS: He portrayed the connection to Britain as a liability: Europe is too thickly planted with kingdoms to be long at peace, and whenever a war breaks out between England and any foreign power, the trade of America goes to ruin, BECAUSE OF HER CONNECTION WITH ENGLAND. The next war may not turn out like the last, and should it not, the advocates for reconciliation now, will be wishing for separation then, because, neutrality in that case, would be a safer convoy than a man of war. He urged Americans to see their duty to both the fallen and the future: Every thing that is right or natural pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, 'TIS TIME TO PART. He referred to God’s intention in the Creation (Geography!): Even the distance at which the Almighty hath placed England and America, is a strong and natural proof, that the authority of the one, over the other, was never the design of Heaven… It is repugnant to reason, to the universal order of things, to all examples from former ages, to suppose, that this continent can longer remain subject to any external power. And to Divine Providence (and again History!): The time likewise at which the continent was discovered, adds weight to the argument, and the manner in which it was peopled increases the force of it. The Reformation was preceded by the discovery of America, as if the Almighty graciously meant to open a sanctuary to the Persecuted in future years, when home should afford neither friendship nor safety. Paine recognized the need for political vision: If there is any true cause of fear respecting independence, it is because no plan is yet laid down. Men do not see their way out-- LET the assemblies be annual, with a President only. The representation more equal. Their business wholly domestic, and subject to the authority of a Continental Congress… He also appreciated – for the sake of Unity and Freedom - the need for a Constitution: A government of our own is our natural right… Let a CONTINENTAL CONFERENCE be held… The conferring members being met, let their business be to frame a CONTINENTAL CHARTER, Or Charter of the United Colonies… Securing freedom and property to all men, and above all things, the free exercise of religion,
  6. 6. according to the dictates of conscience… And he made clear that the Law would govern American life, not monarchs! But where, says some, is the King of America? I'll tell you. Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain. Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far we approve of monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS KING. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law OUGHT to be King; and there ought to be no other. But lest any ill use should afterwards arise, let the crown at the conclusion of the ceremony, be demolished, and scattered among the people whose right it is.
  7. 7. 4/PAINE IN HIS OWN WORDS: Paine – the immigrant – envisioned America as a refuge for those who loved and needed Liberty: O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia, and Africa, have long expelled her--Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind. -OF THE PRESENT ABILITY OF AMERICA, WITH SOME MISCELLANEOUS REFLECTIONS- [Paine surveyed America’s natural & human resources and argued for the construction of a Navy] Paine presses the need for action NOW! Youth is the seed time of good habits, as well in nations as in individuals. It might be difficult, if not impossible, to form the Continent into one government half a century hence… The present time, likewise, is that peculiar time, which never happens to a nation but once, viz. the time of forming itself into a government. Most nations have let slip the opportunity, and by that means have been compelled to receive laws from their conquerors, instead of making laws for themselves. Paine also repeatedly demanded that America be democratic and free in every respect: In a former page I likewise mentioned the necessity of a large and equal representation; and there is no political matter which more deserves our attention…As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of all government, to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith…. For myself, I fully and conscientiously believe, that it is the will of the Almighty, that there should be diversity of religious opinions among us… APPENDIX We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand, and a race of men, perhaps as numerous as all Europe contains, are to receive their portion
  8. 8. of freedom from the event of a few months. And looking back in the midst of the struggle, Paine reflected: I happened to come to America a few months before the breaking out of hostilities. I found the disposition of the people such, that they might have been led by a thread and governed by a reed. Their suspicion was quick and penetrating, but their attachment to Britain was obstinate, and it was at that time a kind of treason to speak against it. They disliked the ministry, but they esteemed the nation. Their idea of grievance operated without resentment, and their single object was reconciliation… I had no thoughts of independence or of arms. The world could not have persuaded me that I should be either a soldier or an author… But when the country, into which I had just set foot, was set on fire about my ears, it was time to stir. It was time for every man to stir. American Crisis #7, November 21, 1778.
  9. 9. 5/PAINE IN HIS OWN WORDS: FROM THE AMERICAN CRISIS #1 (December 23, 1776) Paine’s most stirring – and most quoted – words, written at a most desperate time: THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. . FROM LETTER TO THE ABBE RAYNAL (1782) – at the end of the Revolutionary War… Paine continued to see the American Revolution as truly the beginning of a new age: We see with other eyes; we hear with other ears; and think with other thoughts, than those we formerly used… A union so extensive, continued and determined, suffering with patience and never in despair, could not have been produced by common causes. It must be something capable of reaching the whole soul of man and arming it with perpetual energy. It is in vain to look for precedents among the revolutions of former ages… The spring, the progress, the object, the consequences, nay, the men, their habits of thinking, and all the circumstances of the country, are different. And he again argued that the United States had world-historic responsibilities: The true idea of a great nation, is that which promotes and extends the principles of universal society. Paine loved America and was a Patriot, but he also saw himself as a Citizen of the World: My country is the world, and my religion is to do good. NOTE: Paine’s mentor Benjamin Franklin would say, “Where liberty is, there is my country” – to which Paine would reply, “Where liberty is not, there is my country.”
  10. 10. FROM RIGHTS OF MAN, Parts 1 & 2 (1791-1792) – Paine’s great contribution to the British struggle for democracy and his defense of the French Revolution (against the conservative Edmund Burke) … Paine emphasized freedom and equality of persons and the rights of the living: Man has no property in man; neither has a generation a property in the generations which are to follow… He had confidence in democracy: The greatest characters the world has known, have risen on the democratic floor. Aristocracy has not been able to keep a proportionate place with democracy.
  11. 11. 6/PAINE IN HIS OWN WORDS: He had confidence in America: By ingrafting representation upon democracy, we arrive at a system of government capable of embracing and confederating all the various interests and every extent of territory and population... It is on this system that the American government is founded. It is representation ingrafted upon democracy…. What Athens was in miniature America will be in magnitude. And he held up America as an example to the world – indeed, as proof that the global movement for freedom, equality, and democracy has commenced! What Archimedes said of the mechanical powers, may be applied to Reason and Liberty. "Had we," said he, "a place to stand upon, we might raise the world." The revolution of America presented in politics what was only theory in mechanics. So deeply rooted were all the governments of the old world, and so effectually had the tyranny and the antiquity of habit established itself over the mind, that no beginning could be made in Asia, Africa, or Europe, to reform the political condition of man. The independence of America, considered merely as a separation from England, would have been a matter but of little importance, had it not been accompanied by a revolution in the principles and practice of governments. She made a stand, not for herself only, but for the world, and looked beyond the advantages she herself could receive. As America was the only spot in the political world where the principle of universal reformation could begin, so also was it the best in the natural world. An assemblage of circumstances conspired, not only to give birth, but to add gigantic maturity to its principles. The scene which that country presents to the eye of a spectator, has something in it which generates and encourages great ideas. Nature appears to him in magnitude. The mighty objects he beholds, act upon his mind by enlarging it, and he partakes of the greatness he contemplates.- Its first settlers were emigrants from different European nations, and of diversified professions of religion, retiring from the governmental persecutions of the old world, and meeting in the new, not as enemies, but as brothers. If there is a country in the world where concord, according to common calculation, would be least expected, it is America. Made up, as it is, of people from different nations, accustomed to different forms and habits of government, speaking different languages, and more different in their modes of worship, it would appear that the union of such a people was
  12. 12. impracticable; but by the simple operation of constructing government on the principles of society and the rights of man, every difficulty retires, and all the parts are brought into cordial unison. Paine also issued a challenge to Europeans that would apply to Americans as well… When, in countries that are called civilised, we see age going to the workhouse and youth to the gallows, something must be wrong in the system of government…. When it shall be said in any country in the world, “My poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am a friend of happiness”: when these things can be said, then may that country boast of its constitution and its government.
  13. 13. 7/PAINE IN HIS OWN WORDS: FROM THE AGE OF REASON (1793-1795) – his Deist statement against both Atheism and Organized Religion Paine attacked the Bible and the existing organized religions: All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. But he was no atheist: I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life…I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavouring to make our fellow-creatures happy. I do not believe...in the creed of any church I know of. My own mind is my own church. FROM AGRARIAN JUSTICE (1795) - his pioneering Social-Democratic work His principled starting point: It is wrong to say God made both rich and poor; He made only male and female; and He gave them the earth for their inheritance. His critical historical perspective: Poverty is a thing created by…civilized life. It exists not in the natural state… The present state of civilization is as odious as it is unjust. It is absolutely the opposite of what it should be, and…a revolution should be made in it… I care not how affluent some may be, provided that none be miserable in consequence of it. But it is impossible to enjoy affluence with the felicity it is capable of being enjoyed, while so much misery is mingled in the scene. His proposal to address the problem: To create a national fund, out of which there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property: And also, the sum of ten pounds per annum, during life, to every person now living, of the age of fifty years, and to all others as they shall arrive at that age

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