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On Thomas Paine...

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First of all, I wish to say I am very honoured to speak on Thomas Paine, whom I consider to be one of the greatest men who ever walked on earth.




I read this when I was in school and I have never forgotten it all these years. This is one of the most powerful quotes I have ever read in my life and which has greatly influenced me.



The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.


-----Thomas Paine




As they say , "Quality is better than quantity."


This single quote of Paine, is worth more than a thousand religious discourses and a thousand discourses on philosophy.


In the past few weeks , I have been going throug his amazing works online, studying them, especially "The Age of Reason" , and I found it to be very educative indeed.


I was also pleasantly surprised to see that Abraham Lincoln , an another hero of mine, was a student of Paine as well, and had gone through Paines works carefully. And Lincoln is considered world wide to be americas greatest president.


So did Americas greatest inventor, Thomas Alva Edison, who is a self-confessed fan of Paine.


And so indeed is Robert Ingersoll, one of Americas greatest humanists,political leaders and orators, who himself have influenced millions.



I also learned that it was Thomas Paine himself, who coined the name, 'United States of America ' .


Paine was also a fighter for abolition, women's rights, child's rights and animal rights long before they became popular.



It is also a fact that Thomas Paine was the man who influenced and created the american revolution , and greatly influenced the french revolution as well, both of which set the example and standard for republicanism, democracy and equality to the whole world. And indeed every nation and people who pride on their democracy, republicanism and equality and freedom should be grateful to Thomas Paine.



And what I most admire in Paine is his terrific strength of character, which never compromised on his principles.


In fact his staunch idealism and integrity created problems for him in life, as he attacked even his friends who were not following what he felt to be right and proper.



For example Paine attacked Washington, saying "I do not know whether you have lost your principles or that you never had any" ,when he realized that the American revolution had been hijacked by an elite, as was happening in France. He was also violently opposed to Washington owning slaves.


Napoleon claimed he slept with a copy of 'Rights of Man' under his pillow and went so far as to say to Paine that "a statue of gold should be erected to you in every city in the universe." However, Paine quickly moved from admiration to condemnation as he saw Napoleon's moves towards dictatorship, calling him "the completest charlatan that ever existed."


I guess if Paine was a hypocrite , and didn't criticize Washington or Napoleon, his life would have been much easier . That indeed is true, but I guess Paine 'unfortunately' had too much strength of character , which prevented him from doing anything of that sort.


Which reminds me of a quote by George Bernard Shaw...


"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. "



Below I would like to put a few quotes by Thomas Paine, which will shed more light on his brilliant mind....



THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. 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.


---Thomas Paine


The war is actually begun. The next gale that sweeps from the North will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms. Our brethren are already in the field. Why stand we here idle? Is life so dear, peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me... Give me Liberty or give me Death!


---Thomas Paine



(Washington himself found this speech so uplifting that he ordered it to be read to all his troops on 25 December 1776, prior to commencing his crossing of the Delaware.)



I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.


---Thomas Paine



“Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.”

---Thomas Paine



“'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.”

---Thomas Paine




“Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.”


---Thomas Paine




“It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.”


---Thomas Paine


“He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression;for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”

---Thomas Paine



“The strength and power of despotism consists wholly in the fear of resistance”.

---Thomas Paine



“One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests”.


---Thomas Paine





The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow”


---Thomas Paine




“An army of principles can penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot.”


---Thomas Paine



“Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law”


---Thomas Paine



The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection”


---Thomas Paine




Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be true”


---Thomas Paine



It is an affront to treat falsehood with complaisance”


---Thomas Paine


The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason.”


---Thomas Paine







I also wish to state that it is my personal conviction that Thomas Paine should have become the first president of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, or at least a president after that, considering his unparalleled contribution to the American revolution.


And if he had indeed become the president of the UNITED STATES , the history of America and the whole world would have drastically changed for the better. Sadly , it was not to be.


However his disciple and student, Abraham Lincoln,through his own presidency, rectified this grave historical error to a certain extent.



Here is a link on Thomas Paine...



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