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.