Thomas Paine and the Promise of America

Thomas Paine and the Promise of America

Book - 2005
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America' s unfinished revolution The revolutionary spirit that runs through American history and whose founding father and greatest advocate was Thomas Paine is fiercely traced in" Thomas Paine and the Promise of America," Showing how Paine turned Americans into radicals-- and how we have remained radicals at heart ever since-- Harvey J. Kaye presents the nation' s democratic story with wit, subtlety, and, above all, passion. Paine was one of the most remarkable political writers of the modern world and the greatest radical of a radical age. Through writings like "Common Sense"-- and words such as " The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth, " " We have it in our power to begin the world over again, " and " These are the times that try men' s souls" -- he not only turned America' s colonial rebellion into a revolutionary war but, as Kaye demonstrates, articulated an American identity charged with exceptional purpose and promise. Beginning with Paine' s life and ideas and following their vigorous influence through to our own day, "Thomas Paine and the Promise of America" reveals how, while the powers that be repeatedly sought to suppress, defame, and most recently co-opt Paine' s memory, generations of radical and liberal Americans turned to Paine for inspiration as they endeavored to expand American freedom, equality, and democracy.
Publisher: New York : Hill and Wang, 2005.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780809089703
Branch Call Number: 320.5 Kaye 2005
Characteristics: 326 p. ;,24 cm.


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Jan 05, 2020

This book is a mixed bag, I had to put it down after Chapter 6. It starts off wonderfully, it's very interesting stuff. But then the author gets a bit too cocky and says a lot misleading things without clarifying terms. For example, he claims John Adam's wife was a feminist and does not explain much about what that meant for her. If you assume she's a feminist similar to feminists today she would have refused to wear skirts, dyed her hair bright pink, complained about pink taxes, protested for the sake of pro-choice etc, etc, etc. None of these things happened because of who she was as well as because of the conditions of her environment. None of this was even hinted at by the author. He just slaps modern terms on things and runs with it at times, which is frustrating.

Then we have Paine, the author acknowledges at some point that Paine grew to be less liked because of various reasons after writing Common Sense and especially after the Revolution was over. I consider him to be one of the most hypocritical political figures in early American history, but at least the author points out that Common Sense was his best work. Then the author describes in detail how self-righteous he is, making religious claims and claims that he know Christianity better than anyone despite the fact that his theological teachings from parents when he was young were strained at best, and he cited no other theologians in his religious writings or at least none I could see in this book. That's incredibly foolish in my opinion. Paine prides himself and the American people in being people governed by reason and logic, and yet he loves throwing ad hominem attacks just because a writer dared to disagree with him. And lastly, and I'm frustrated by this the most, despite being so "devoted" to America, he abandons it after he pisses off the locals in Philadelphia over how to operate their banks or something tiny like that, then he leaves for Britain and France to go and complain about how they haven't done exactly what America just did. His thick skull cannot seem to understand that large groups of people take decades to change their political ideals. His amount of influence he had after he wrote Common Sense was incredibly lucky. I'm guessing he thought he could replicate the same thing in other countries if he just bullied them and whined at them hard enough. He abandoned his country to run away from European police for what again? For a chance to change the world single-handedly with little to no back up. What a fool, Americans needed him and he left them. Some devotion.

I hardly think a man who can't understand human nature can understand something as complex as theology.

BUT this is a good book to start your quest to learn more about the beginnings of America. It's very important. Highly recommend reading up until Chapter 6. It will go down hill though.

Jan 29, 2014

if you want a really good recount of the meaning of america


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