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Mr. Ulmschneider's Forums > AP Government: Madison, Paine, and Politics

Thomas Paine: Social Critic

posted Dec 17, 2012 03:46:12 by AlexCarr
Although Thomas Paine never secured a spot on the list of the Founding Fathers club, he was no less important and influential than Washington, Franklin, or Jefferson. The reason for his lack of Fatherly status is that he was an uncensored social critic in a time where his actions were unprecedented. Unlike the other gentlemanly Founding Fathers, Paine "spoke openly to the people in the streets, and that made all the difference." Only his ideas on paper were famous. As an "unconnected" man, he did not have the social status to shift the fame from his work to himself, and the fact that he was so shameless in his complaints kept from from ever doing so. Yet, despite the fact that Paine as a man didn't stay in the spotlight of history, his actions had a profound effect on American political culture. His blatant criticisms and idealistic preaching directly kindled the pride American's hold in their 1st Amendment rights.
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2 replies
EshwarCheekati said Dec 17, 2012 03:56:07
Alex, I agree that Paine's radicals ideas tie along with the freedoms Americans possess. He believed in the "natural harmony of society" and thought that "society as beneficent and government as malevolent". However, nowadays, its becoming harder and harder to believe that man is naturally good with incidents such as the gun shooting in Connecticut. Do you agree with Paine's belief of less government intervention equals more prosperity of society, or do you think that government intervention is needed to make a society survive?
AlexCarr said Dec 17, 2012 04:10:40
Well Eshwar, personally I am very tied to the idea of strictly abiding by the law and that in order for things to function smoothly, people must be regulated or else they will act in their own self-interest. However, I think that the government (meaning those people in it) is no less regulated by the law, and that less government involvement with public affairs is better. The govt should set the laws and enforce them, but go no further. And, in the economy it should have very little power. An uncontrolled, free market economy, I believe is key to make society not only survive, but thrive. I think Paine would probably agree were he to view the situation today.
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