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Essays

Thomas Paine

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Thomas Paine was an American political commentator and activist in the latter part of the eighteenth century. His writing covered a wide range of subjects, but were centered on his core beliefs of republicanism and the inherent rights of people. An early pamphlet of his, “Common Sense,” was written soon after he arrived in America from Great Britain; with its focus on the ills of colonialism and the King’s veering between rational debate and righteous outrage, it has been cited as one of the major catalysts for the American Revolution. Later work attempted to correct the mistakes he perceived in post-revolution French government—written from experience after his election to the French National Convention—and even suggested a costed plan for a universal basic income funded by an inheritance tax.

Collected here are his essays and pamphlets written between 1776 and 1797, including the aforementioned “Common Sense” and other influential works like “The Republican Proclamation” and the “Declaration of Rights.”

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