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Book Title: The Thomas Paine Reader|
The author of the book: Thomas Paine
Edition: Penguin Books
Date of issue: July 30th 1987
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Reader ratings: 7.9
ISBN 13: 9780140444964
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 422 KB
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This major collection demonstrates the extent to which Thomas Paine (1737—1809) was an inspiration to the Americans in their struggle for independence, a passionate supporter of the French Revolution and perhaps the outstanding English radical writer of his age. It contains all of Paine's key works including 'The Rights of Man', his groundbreaking defence of the revolutionary cause in France, 'Common Sense', which won thousands over to the side of the American rebels, and the first part of 'The Age of Reason', a ferocious attack on Christianity. The shorter pieces — on capital punishment, social reform and the abolition of slavery — also confirm the great versatility and power of this master of democratic prose.
In their informative introduction, Michael Foot and Isaac Kramnick expore the life, work and influence of Thomas Paine, placing his work in its historical context and illustrating the force and clarity of his literary style.
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Read information about the authorThomas Paine was an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called "a corset maker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination".
Born in Thetford, England, in the county of Norfolk, Paine emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 with the help of Benjamin Franklin, arriving just in time to participate in the American Revolution. His principal contributions were the powerful, widely read pamphlet Common Sense (1776), the all-time best-selling American book that advocated colonial America's independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and The American Crisis (1776–83), a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series. Common Sense was so influential that John Adams said, "Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain."
Paine lived in France for most of the 1790s, becoming deeply involved in the French Revolution. He wrote the Rights of Man (1791), in part a defence of the French Revolution against its critics. His attacks on British writer Edmund Burke led to a trial and conviction in absentia in 1792 for the crime of seditious libel. In 1792, despite not being able to speak French, he was elected to the French National Convention. The Girondists regarded him as an ally. Consequently, the Montagnards, especially Robespierre, regarded him as an enemy.
In December 1793, he was arrested and imprisoned in Paris, then released in 1794. He became notorious because of his pamphlet The Age of Reason (1793–94), in which he advocated deism, promoted reason and freethinking, and argued against institutionalized religion in general and Christian doctrine in particular. He also wrote the pamphlet Agrarian Justice (1795), discussing the origins of property, and introduced the concept of a guaranteed minimum income. In 1802, he returned to America where he died on June 8, 1809. Only six people attended his funeral as he had been ostracized for his ridicule of Christianity.
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