“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”
In a sense, Thomas Paine’s greatest role in the foundation of the United States was as a propagandist. His pamphlets Common Senseand The American Crisisboth stirred up fiery rebellious sentiment against British rule. Although he did not sign the Declaration of Independence, Paine was every bit a Founding Father. The British would most certainly have turned him into a windchime had the patriots not won the war.
Thomas Paine quotes reflect many of the ideas which the Founding Fathers presented in the Declaration of Independence. And while they acknowledged that a country’s government should not be changed will nilly, the Founding Fathers never treated the English monarchy as something deserving of reverence. Surely they all recalled what Paine wrote in Common Sense as they did so:
“[N]o man in his senses can say that their claim under William the Conqueror is a very honourable one. A French bastard landing with an armed Banditti and establishing himself king of England against the consent of the natives, is in plain terms a very paltry rascally original. It certainly hath no divinity in it.”
Yet not all of Paine’s beliefs were embraced during the early years of the Republic. His vehement opposition to slavery, for example, wasn’t very well received by certain plantation owners. The nasty letter he sent to George Washington when the president failed to intervene during his imprisonment in France didn’t help Paine endear himself to many of the other Founding Fathers, either. No one calls Big George a hypocrite.
In Paine’s writing, we see several libertarian ideals as well. His description of government as parasitic – a thing which serves only to choke innovation and progress – would fit perfectly into an endless John Galt monologue. Like Paine, libertarians recognize any government which overzealously punishes its citizenry as one which is only concerned with maintaining its authority. And Paine, who believed in only using reason to compel others to share his views, resonates with every libertarian who disavows violence. (That’s probably why there are no libertarian governments.)
Best Thomas Paine Quotes
Virtually anything Thomas Paine ever wrote could be copied and pasted into a collection of Thomas Paine quotes. And it is fortunate that he wrote Common Sense and The American Crisis in the 18th century. Had he done so today, he would likely have gotten his name punched into every watchlist the U.S. government compiles.