The Political Philosophy of Thomas Paine (The Political Philosophy of the American Founders)

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9780801892844: The Political Philosophy of Thomas Paine (The Political Philosophy of the American Founders)

This concise, thoughtful introduction to the work of Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense and Rights of Man, explores the impact of one of the most influential minds of the American and French Revolutions and the sources from which his thinking evolved.

In Jack Fruchtman Jr.'s helpful interpretation, Paine built his argument for radical revolution in 1776 on a study of nature and Providence and a belief in natural rights. Men and women owed it to themselves to break the chains of rank, hierarchy, and even organized religion in order to live freely, embracing the possibilities of invention, progress, and equality that lay ahead. In 1793, at the height of the French Revolution and its secularizing fury, Paine reminded readers that it was nature's God who created natural rights. The rights of man thus held out both the great potential of freedom and the requirement that human beings be responsible for those who were the least fortunate in society. On balance we may think of Paine as a secular preacher for the rule of reason.

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From the Back Cover:

This concise, thoughtful introduction to the work of Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense and Rights of Man, explores the sources and impact of one of the most influential minds of the American and French Revolutions.

In Jack Fruchtman Jr.'s helpful interpretation, Paine built his argument for radical revolution in 1776 on a study of nature and Providence and a belief in natural rights. Men and women owed it to themselves to break the chains of rank, hierarchy, and even organized religion in order to live freely, embracing the possibilities of invention, progress, and equality that lay ahead. In 1793, at the height of the French Revolution and its secularizing fury, Paine reminded readers that it was nature's God who laid down natural rights. The rights of man thus held out both the great potential of freedom and the requirement that human beings be responsible for those who were the least fortunate in society. On balance we may think of him as a secular preacher for the sake of reason.

"Fruchtman's concise analysis is tightly focused... A coherent vision of Paine's work, encompassing his many contradictions."―Times Literary Supplement

"A compelling portrait of Thomas Paine as a serious, complex, and often surprising writer... This is a very useful volume for new students of US political thought, as well as for scholars seeking a quick but illuminating overview of Paine's writings and philosophy."―Choice

"An insightful addition to a literature on an under-appreciated democratic theorist."―New Political Science

"After reading The Political Philosophy of Thomas Paine readers will recognize consistencies in Paine's work that reveal, if not a systematic ‘political philosophy,' certainly a marvelous political thinker."―Political Studies Review

About the Author:

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.

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