Friday, May 20, 2011

Thomas Paine -- Society and Government

"GREAT part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of government.  It had its origin in the principles of society and the natural constitution of man.  It existed prior to government, and would exist if the formality of government was abolished.  The mutual dependence and reciprocal interest which man has upon man, and all parts of a civilized community upon each other, create that great chain of connection which holds it together.  The landholder, the farmer, the manufacturer, the merchant, the tradesman, and every occupation) prospers by the aid which each receives from the other, and from the whole.  Common interest regulates their concerns, and forms their laws; and the laws which common usage ordains, have a greater influence than the laws of government.  In fine, society performs for itself almost every thing which is ascribed to government." Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, Part Second, Chapter 1.

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