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Paine and Jefferson in the Age of Revolutions

Edited by Simon P. Newman and Peter S. Onuf

Publication Year: 2013

The enormous popularity of his pamphlet Common Sense made Thomas Paine one of the best-known patriots during the early years of American independence. His subsequent service with the Continental Army, his publication of The American Crisis (1776–83), and his work with Pennsylvania’s revolutionary government consolidated his reputation as one of the foremost radicals of the Revolution. Thereafter, Paine spent almost fifteen years in Europe, where he was actively involved in the French Revolution, articulating his radical social, economic, and political vision in major publications such as The Rights of Man (1791), The Age of Reason (1793-1807), and Agrarian Justice (1797). Such radicalism was deemed a danger to the state in his native Britain, where Paine was found guilty of sedition, and even in the United States some of Paine’s later publications lost him a great deal of his early popularity.

Yet despite this legacy, historians have paid less attention to Paine than to other leading Patriots such as Thomas Jefferson. In Paine and Jefferson in the Age of Revolutions, editors Simon Newman and Peter Onuf present a collection of essays that examine how the reputations of two figures whose outlooks were so similar have had such different trajectories.

Published by: University of Virginia Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-4

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

On March 4, 1809, Thomas Jefferson concluded his second term as president of the United States and retired from public life. Three months later, on June 8, Thomas Paine died in Greenwich Village, New York City. To mark the bicentennial of Paine’s death, a small group of scholars gathered at the Reform Club in London ...

Part I. Paine and Jefferson: Radicals and Democrats

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The Radicalism of Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine Considered

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pp. 13-25

Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine could not have been more different in background and temperament. Jefferson was a wealthy slaveholding aristocrat from Virginia who was as well connected socially as anyone in America. His mother was a Randolph, perhaps the most prestigious family in all of Virginia, and positions in his society came easy to him. ...

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“The Whole Object of the Present Controversy”: The Early Constitutionalism of Paine and Jefferson

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pp. 26-48

In 1776 Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson were in Philadelphia and each made his most notable contribution to the American Revolution—Paine publishing Common Sense and Jefferson drafting the Declaration of Independence.1 As a consequence of these activities, Paine and Jefferson are, perhaps, more closely associated with the colonies’ decision to declare independence than any other figures. ...

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Thomas Paine’s Early Radicalism, 1768–1783

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pp. 49-70

Between 1768 and 1783, Thomas Paine’s political radicalism and revolutionary enthusiasm developed in two phases: in his experiences in the small towns and hamlets throughout Midlands England and Sussex, and then in his first year in America after his arrival in Philadelphia in November 1774. ...

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Paine, Jefferson, and Revolutionary Radicalism in Early National America

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pp. 71-94

No more than twelve people attended the funeral of Thomas Paine on June 10, 1809, when he was buried on his farm in New Rochelle, New York. No political leaders attended, no eulogy was given, and the event was little reported and largely ignored. ...

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Paine, Jefferson, and the Modern Ideas of Democracy and the Nation

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pp. 95-118

Democracy and the idea of the nation are two concepts that over the course of the last two hundred and fifty years have significantly shaped the development of the modern world. As a result, historians and scholars of other disciplines have paid a great deal of attention to the history of these key concepts. ...

Part II. Jefferson and Paine’s Europe: Friends, Audience, Reception, and Reputation

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Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin’s French Circle

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pp. 121-136

Among the innumerable books written about either Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Paine, none fails to mention the long-lasting friendship between the two revolutionaries. Paine’s biographers are particularly fond of quoting Franklin’s description of Paine as his “adopted political Son,” without acknowledging that its source is none other than Paine himself.1 ...

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Revolutionaries in Paris: Paine, Jefferson, and Democracy

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pp. 137-160

In “Discourse on the Love of Our Country,” Richard Price wrote: “Be encouraged all ye friends of freedom and writers in its defence. . . . Behold the light you have struck out, after setting America free, reflected to France and there kindled into a blaze that lays despotism in ashes and warms and illuminates Europe.”1 ...

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The Troubled Reception of Thomas Paine in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia

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pp. 161-182

Historians of ideas, and historians of the Enlightenment, have long since recognized the initial impact of Thomas Paine in France, pointing to his multiple election as deputy to the Convention parliament in 1792 as evidence of the extent to which his name and reputation had become well established in France. ...

Part III. Commonalities and Differences: Paine and Jefferson, Paine versus Jefferson

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Empire without Colonies: Paine, Jefferson, and the Nookta Crisis

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pp. 185-208

It is hard to imagine a more apposite opening paragraph than that which graces Harold Adams Innis’s monumental The Fur Trade in Canada: “The history of Canada has been profoundly influenced by the habits of an animal which very fittingly occupies a prominent place on her coat of arms. ...

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Thomas Paine and Jeffersonian America

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pp. 209-228

Thus Thomas Paine opened the second part of his best-selling work, Rights of Man, which was published in February 1792 and which is often characterized as a key text in the British debate on the revolution in France, but in which Paine was in fact much more concerned to present America as a model republican government than to defend Revolutionary France.1 ...

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Thomas Jefferson’s Portrait of Thomas Paine

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pp. 229-251

A portrait of Thomas Paine was among the artwork from Thomas Jefferson’s personal collection sent to the Boston Athenaeum for exhibition and sale in 1828. The small painting had been a gift from the artist John Trumbull to Jefferson in late 1788 and had remained a part of Jefferson’s collection until after his death and the dispersal of his estate. ...

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Two Paths from Revolution: Jefferson, Paine, and the Radicalization of Enlightenment Thought

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pp. 252-276

Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine shared an enthusiasm for the revolutions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Both, of course, were strong partisans of the American Revolution; both were among the strongest non-French supporters of the French Revolution. Both called for and welcomed future revolutions. ...

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Conclusion: Thomas Paine in the Atlantic Historical Imagination

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pp. 277-296

Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson have long been associated with one another in the American historical imagination. Their many detractors have tended to regard them as unrepresentative radicals who were profoundly out of step with their fellow citizens, especially in regard to their religious beliefs. ...

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 297-300

Index

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pp. 301-311


E-ISBN-13: 9780813934778
E-ISBN-10: 081393477x
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813934761
Print-ISBN-10: 0813934761

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 6 b&w illus., 1 table
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Jeffersonian America

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Subject Headings

  • France -- History -- Revolution, 1789-1799.
  • United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783.
  • Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826 -- Influence.
  • Jefferson, Thomas, -- 1743-1826 -- Philosophy.
  • Paine, Thomas, 1737-1809 -- Influence.
  • Paine, Thomas, 1737-1809 -- Philosophy.
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