The claim is frequently made that Thomas Paine
"named" the United States in his pamphlet Crisis 2, entitled
To Lord Howe
January 13, 1777
An alert correspondent to my list and blog -- a gentleman named
Ron Matthews -- noted recently
that the claim seems to be inflated and/or erroneous, easily
disproved by reference to the title of the Declaration of Independence.
The factoid (erroneous or not) seems to trace back to John Remsburg's
THOMAS PAINE - APOSTLE OF LIBERTY, p. 195 (available free online at google
books) and has been carried forward by the now nearly defunct
Thomas Paine National Historical Association and others.
Two questions -- is anyone aware of an earlier appearance of
the claim? Any insights on this? The fact that the colonies were still
states at the time of the Declaration is certainly true, but by the same
token, they were also when Paine wrote his second Crisis. Paine made
reference to a single nation in his Crisis, where the Declaration was
written to represent thirteen individual states? Does this matter? Is
it a mere quibble? Does an inflated Paine claim need to be dismissed?