Thomas Paine in Europe
A lecture on Paine in Europe and his work: The Rights of Man, Age of Reason, and Agrarian Reform by Jack Fruchtman, Jr.
“Without the Pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been in vain.”
Thomas Paine turned a tax revolt into a revolution for independence with Common Sense, saved the revolution from failure with The Crisis, defended the French Revolution, attacked the political bureaucracy, and promoted the concepts of democracy in The Rights of Man, attacked the religious bureaucracy and promoted Deism in The Age of Reason, and confronted the issues of poverty in Agrarian Reform.
Jack Fruchtman, Jr. is a professor of political science at Maryland’s Towson University. He is the author of The Apocalyptic Politics of Richard Price and Joseph Priestley; Thomas Paine and the Religion of Nature; Thomas Paine: Apostle of Freedom; Atlantic Cousins: Benjamin Franklin and His Visionary Friends, and the forthcoming The Political Science of Thomas Paine.
“With new insights into Paine’s life comes new understanding of his writings, those seeds of our revolution. One can’t read this long-overdue, revealing, and moving biography without feeling both the admiration and the same frustrations Fruchtman did, coming away angered that ‘the problems…tragically remain today.’ The role of the true revolutionary is exposed, and Fruchtman’s study succeeds better than most in giving us deeper understanding of that lonesome role and its purpose. We haven’t yet come even half way as a society to meet Paine’s vision. In the whole work, and especially in his last chapter, “Assessment,” Fruchtman comes very near to that indistinct line between biographer and champion. His solid work corrects earlier lies about Paine, and if he slips into exhortion, it is only because no one could know Paine so well and not be so affected. Paine’s spirit lives, restrained only by scholarly discipline, making for a highly readable, highly recommended work.” – John Berry, Library Journal