Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thomas Paine -- "What we obtain to cheap ..."

"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this
consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious
the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is
dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to
put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if
so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated."
Thomas Paine, The American Crisis I, December 23, 1776.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sophia Rosenfeld takes a stab at understanding the lack of a Paine statue in Washington, DC

Sophia Rosenfeld takes a stab at understanding the lack of a statue for Thomas Paine in Washington, DC and while she makes some good points about the historic invocation of Paine's memory by the leaders of American democratic reform (sounds as though she may have read Harvey J. Kaye's fine work on Paine), she misses the central issue surrounding Paine's execration by the Federalists of the early 19th c.


Paine wouldn't WANT a statue in DC. In his strafing attack "Letter to George Washington" Paine said he had a right to call himself "the first federalist" because of his early proposal for a union of the colonies, but by the time he returned from France in 1802 he had become a staunch anti-federalist and a hero to those who opposed the Adams/Hamilton version of American greed-based government with private banking in the driver's seat. That's the underlying reason why there's no statue to Paine in Washington, DC. He wouldn't  bow to the "wise" financial geniuses of American government of the greedy, by the greedy and for the greedy.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The unfinished American Revolution and a proposal for a new political party

The United States of America needs a new political party born of the unfinished business of the American Revolution -- much like Horace Greeley said of the Republican Party when it was created back in the mid 1850s. The Republican Party was originally created to resolve the issue of slavery versus free labor, free land, free speech and free people. The Whig and Democratic Parties failed to resolve the issue and both shattered over internal divisions. The Republican Party that arose in their stead was originally pro-tariff and anti-slavery. The two great American political issues of the Nineteenth Century were slavery and banking. The slavery issue -- at least chattel slavery -- was solved, but the issue of wage-slavery and banking exploitation was never resolved. In fact, I would argue that the bank monopolies prevailed. Study the debates that surrounded creation of Hamilton's first Bank of the United States. The Congress of the United States farmed out its constitutional currency creating powers to a private banking corporation, setting off a two-hundred year struggle that still threatens to collapse the remains of the republic. Unless we mobilize the citizenry, the international banking/financial interests will extinguish the U. S. before the U. S. can begin to extinguish the banking cartels.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thomas Paine neither said nor wrote "lead, follow or get out of the way."

Every work and letter of Paine's has been digitally searched for this. It's all here on my computer and I've been reading and pondering Paine for much of my 61 years. Factually, it doesn't even SOUND like Paine who was rarely, if ever,  bullying or brusque in print or in person. Bottom line, he never said nor wrote it and I'll send $20 US to anyone who can come up with a legitimate citation that he did. Paine never said it.

Thomas Paine and salvation through the blood sacrifice of Christ Jesus

"From the time I was capable of conceiving an idea and acting upon it by reflection, I either doubted the truth of the Christian system or thought it to be a strange affair; I scarcely knew which it was, but I well remember, when about seven or eight years of age, hearing a sermon read by a relation of mine, who was a great devotee of the Church [35], upon the subject of what is called redemption by the death of the Son of God.

After the sermon was ended, I went into the garden, and as I was going down the garden steps (for I perfectly recollect the spot) I revolted at the recollection of what I had heard, and thought to myself that it was making God Almighty act like a passionate man who killed His son when He could not revenge Himself in any other way, and, as I was sure a man would be hanged who did such a thing, I could not see for what purpose they preached such sermons.

This was not one of that kind of thoughts that had anything in it of childish levity; it was to me a serious reflection, arising from the idea I had that God was too good to do such an action, and also too almighty to be under any necessity of doing it. I believe in the same manner at this moment; and I moreover believe that any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child cannot be a true system." 

Thomas Paine - Age of Reason, Pt. 1

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Thomas Paine, Anthony Benezet and the first American Antislavery Society (Anti-Slavery)

Thomas Paine appeared today in one of the many blog-attacks on the historical accuracy of Michelle Bachman and other Republican figures.


The author of the article in CommonDreams.org may have fallen, however, for one of the old Thomas Paine chestnuts that still circulate far and wide with little or no historical support. In this case, it's the following quotation:

".... on April 14, 1775, the first anti-slavery society in the American colonies was formed in Philadelphia.
Thomas Paine was a founding member."

This story traces back, insofar as I have been able to ascertain, to Paine biographer Moncure Daniel Conway who presented it as fact without documentation in support his claim or attribution to his own source. Some years ago this writer spent a great deal of research time trying to trace down the facts surrounding the claim ... and came up 100% empty-handed. Extant primary sources -- at least the ones I have seen to date -- fail to mention Paine's name. Certainly the question can be said to remain open, but while it's tempting to believe that Paine would have if he could have, the fact remains that we do not know and there appears to be no good historical basis for the claim.