Thomas Paine 1737 – 1809 ,
“Father of the American Revolution”,
was the first to propose, with his publication of Common Sense, actual American Independence from a system of Aristocratic Royalty –
by suggesting a Democratic Republic for the “United States of America,” a name attributed to him –
with a Unicameral Congress, as adopted by Pennsylvania. He inspired the Declaration of Independence.
He proposed the Abolition
of Negro Slavery; proposed
advocated Justice for Women; pointed out the Reality of Human Brotherhood; suggested International Copyright; invented a suspension bridge and smokeless candle; proposed the Education of Children of the Poor at public expense; suggested a Great Republic of All Nations of the world. He urged the Purchase of the great Louisiana Territory. He proposed pension payments or Old Age Pensions. He also suggested protection for dumb animals. We have honored him when we have adopted these sane propositions.
Tom Paine had a gripping style of writing with daring ideas and daring words. He served as inspirer of soldiers in retreat. He was a soldier from Pennsylvania at Perth Amboy, NJ and, subsequently, served with General Greene near Fort LEE, NJ. Paine saw the defeat of the Americans at Fort Washington, NY on “Washington Heights” across the Hudson River from Fort Lee. He marched through New Jersey, where he began his inspiring writings, CRISIS ..., which George Washington had read before his troops.
Tom Paine had been a friend of Thomas Jefferson –
and of “BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, the only signer of four major documents: Declaration of Independence; Treaty of Alliance with France; Treaty of Paris to end the war; and the Constitution“.
Tom Paine strove to spread the idea of a Republic with Wide Suffrage – in America, England and France, and he even went to a dungeon-jail in France and narrowly missed execution for many of “his” – now “our” courageous beliefs.
He died in 1809 in Greenwich Village, NY on Grand Street in relative poverty.
His bones had been buried near his home in New Rochelle, NY, but ten years later,
the bones were brought to England for a monument to him – which was refused.
His marked bones are here-and-there . . . thankfully,
a search and expensive DNA studies of his relics are slowly being pursued to honor him again.
More from the Neil Brinkley website:
love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.
My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear as a ray of light. Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to “bind me in all cases whatsoever” to his absolute will, am I to suffer it? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king or a common man; my countryman or not my countryman; whether it be done by an individual villain, or an army of them? If we reason to the root of things we shall find no difference; neither can any just cause be assigned why we should punish in the one case and pardon in the other.
Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man.
I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America.
There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to guard equally against both.
Howe’s first object is, partly by threats and partly by promises, to terrify or seduce the people to deliver up their arms and receive mercy. The ministry recommended the same plan to Gage, and this is what the tories call making their peace, “a peace which passeth all understanding” indeed! A peace which would be the immediate forerunner of a worse ruin than any we have yet thought of.
Ye men of Pennsylvania, do reason upon these things! Were the back counties to give up their arms, they would fall an easy prey to the Indians, who are all armed: this perhaps is what some Tories would not be sorry for. Were the home counties to deliver up their arms, they would be exposed to the resentment of the back counties who would then have it in their power to chastise their defection at pleasure. And were any one state to give up its arms, that state must be garrisoned by all Howe’s army of Britons and Hessians to preserve it from the anger of the rest.
Mutual fear is the principal link in the chain of mutual love, and woe be to that state that breaks the compact. Howe is mercifully inviting you to barbarous destruction, and men must be either rogues or fools that will not see it. I dwell not upon the vapors of imagination; I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as A, B, C, hold up truth to your eyes.
I thank God, that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it. While our army was collected, Howe dared not risk a battle; and it is no credit to him that he decamped from the White Plains, and waited a mean opportunity to ravage the defenseless Jerseys; but it is great credit to us, that, with a handful of men, we sustained an orderly retreat for near an hundred miles, brought off our ammunition, all our field pieces, the greatest part of our stores, and had four rivers to pass. None can say that our retreat was precipitate, for we were near three weeks in performing it, that the country might have time to come in. Twice we marched back to meet the enemy, and remained out till dark. The sign of fear was not seen in our camp, and had not some of the cowardly and disaffected inhabitants spread false alarms through the country, the Jerseys had never been ravaged.
Once more we are again collected and collecting; our new army at both ends of the continent is recruiting fast, and we shall be able to open the next campaign with sixty thousand men, well armed and clothed. This is our situation, and who will may know it.
By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils- a ravaged country- a depopulated city- habitations without safety, and slavery without hope- our homes turned into barracks and bawdy-houses for Hessians, and a future race to provide for, whose fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.
As I read more it becomes more clearer that Paine has got great relevance for today.
The language above is very expressive and it marks the fact that these were men and women who were fighting for a great cause.
This is very much present in the ordinary people of America today, not the media, not the governments, that is the point.