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Thomas Paine

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Thomas Paine For many years Thomas Paine was the epitome of American histories greatest drawback. In American history there is always that one detail that doesn’t make it into popular curriculum. Whether it be the point of view from the loosing side of a war, to the secret dalliances of a popular politician, to the truth of a times social opinion- the American student is taught only so much. The most proper, popular material makes it in; along with any major facts too commonly known to ignore. Anything else is liable to fall to the wayside without enough support from historians or academia. There is always room for the improvement of materials taught; so said, it would seem there is much more to know about Thomas Paine than is currently taught. Within the last twenty years there has been a resurgence of interest in both Thomas Paine and his work. The new social consciousness is more in tune with his writings, and his underdog status appeals to many. His blunt style of speech has earned him admiration in many corners; in fact one of President Ronald Regan’s more clever speech writers took to adding exerpts from Paines’ writings into the President’s major addresses. Paine has lately been heralded as “Americas’ first modern intellectual”, and is the subject of numerous books which have come out within the last four years. Common knowledge of Paine includes his birth in 1737 in Thetford, England, his writing of the Common Sense pamphlet in 1776, and his involvement in the American Revolution. Less common knowledge is his other writings: The Crisis, Rights of War and The Age of Reason; along with his role in the French Revolution. Even further down the path into the obscure is his brief French citizenship, his time in a Frenc... ... middle of paper ... ...oks other then that he was the author of the Common Sense pamphlet. No mention of his personal contributions in fighting the war and maintaining the government. Not a word of how he gave his last cent to the cause of the revolution and then went begging for more. Here we have a man who helped spark the flame of revolution that brought about the United States of America, relegated to the role of cheerleader. Thomas Paine gave his all for America, always going openly and honestly about his work, and in the end sacrificing his own life so that the truth might be heard. Bibliography: Wood, Gordon S. “Disturbing The Peace” New York Review of Books June 8, 1995 Wilentz, Sean “The Air Around Thomas Paine” New Republic April 24, 1995 Vol. 212 Issue 17 Keane, John “Tom Paine: A Political Life” Little/Brown 1995 Comptons Encyclopedia, William Benton 1973
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