Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Thomas Paine Rights of Man

Thinking about it looking into today's view of how we are, I do see the point
of the French Revolution. And in that it's a give in to say about Thomas Paine
on the Rights of Man.

It's a point that is needed to press on against the battle of Poverty into today's light!
Shown in history the rich does not care about the poor in that case the poor needs
to take action have a Revolution! With me I push on poverty crusades.
Dressing bad and going out in town where the rich people go just to drink Tea, Coffee
and to show your poverty and the need to raise the pay as the town looks really bad!
The view of that is like Martin Luther King, Jr. in his Poor People's Campaign.

In the part of Thomas Paine it points to a need and to say you have rights
for action. And that is the point Action thinking for yourself moving ahead!
Thinking for yourself to be a thinking man! Much like in Adam eating from 
the Tree of Knowledge yet Holy Rollers today sit in Church and don't even open 
their Bibles to look for themselves. A far cry from the French Revolution days!

~~~~~Rights of Man
Back in London by 1787, Paine became engrossed in the ongoing French Revolution
that began in 1789. He visited France in 1790. Meanwhile, conservative intellectual
Edmund Burke launched a counterrevolutionary blast against the French Revolution,
entitled Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790); it strongly appealed to the
landed class and sold 30,000 copies. Paine set out to refute it in his Rights of Man (1791).
He wrote it not as a quick pamphlet but as a long, abstract political tract of 90,000 words
that tore apart monarchies and traditional social institutions. On January 31, he gave the
manuscript to publisher Joseph Johnson. A visit by government agents dissuaded Johnson,
so Paine gave the book to publisher J.S. Jordan, then went to Paris, per William Blake's
advice. He charged three good friends, William Godwin, Thomas Brand Hollis, and
Thomas Holcroft, with handling publication details. The book appeared on March 13 and
sold nearly a million copies. It was, "eagerly read by reformers, Protestant dissenters,
democrats, London craftsman, and the skilled factory-hands of the new industrial north.

Undeterred by the government campaign to discredit him, Paine issued his  
Rights of Man, Part the Second, Combining Principle and Practice in February 1792.
It detailed a representative government with enumerated social programs to remedy the
numbing poverty of commoners through progressive tax measures. Radically reduced in
price to ensure unprecedented circulation, it was sensational in its impact and gave birth to
reform societies. An indictment for seditious libel followed, for both publisher and author,
while government agents followed Paine and instigated mobs, hate meetings,
and burnings in effigy. A fierce pamphlet war also resulted, in which Paine was defended
and assailed in dozens of works. The authorities aimed, with ultimate success, to chase
Paine out of Great Britain. He was then tried in absentia and found guilty
though never executed.

In summer of 1792, he answered the sedition and libel charges thus:
"If, to expose the fraud and imposition of monarchy ... to promote universal peace,
civilization, and commerce, and to break the chains of political superstition, and raise
degraded man to his proper rank; if these things be libellous ... let the name of libeller be
engraved on my tomb."

Paine was an enthusiastic supporter of the French Revolution, and was granted, along
with Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and others, honorary
French citizenship. Despite his inability to speak French, he was elected to the
National Convention, representing the district of Pas-de-Calais.
He voted for the French Republic; but argued against the execution of Louis XVI, saying
that he should instead be exiled to the United States: firstly, because of the way royalist
France had come to the aid of the American Revolution; and secondly because of a moral
objection to capital punishment in general and to revenge killings in particular.
He participated in the Constitution Committee that drafted the
Girondin constitutional project.

Regarded as an ally of the Girondins, he was seen with increasing disfavor by the
Montagnards who were now in power, and in particular by Robespierre.
A decree was passed at the end of 1793 excluding foreigners from their places
in the Convention (Anacharsis Cloots was also deprived of his place).
Paine was arrested and imprisoned in December 1793.

Thomas Paine wrote the second part of Rights of Man on a desk in Thomas
'Clio' Rickman's house, with whom he was staying in 1792 before he fled to France.
This desk is currently on display in the People's History Museum in Manchester.

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