Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite: The American Revolution & the European Response

By Charles W. Toth | Go to book overview
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Europe. He seemed puzzled himself by the strong pull the Old World exerted. He either could not or would not explain it. Possibly it could be said of Paine what was said of a later visitor, that he "was, in fact, not really interested in America at all" but only "in certain abstract propositions which America could prove. . . ."

On 26 April 1787 Paine sailed from New York. He had spent twelve and a half of the best years of his life in America. He had arrived poor. He left with over one thousand dollars in the newly created Bank of Philadelphia, £220 in cash held by friends in New York, a house in Bordentown, and a farm in New Rochelle, both of which brought in rent. He had arrived unknown. He left internationally famous. He was fifty years old and still a rootless and restless man who lived for the most part out of a suitcase. He owned a house he never lived in, a farm he seldom visited. He planned to be back before winter set in. He would be gone fifteen years.


Notes
1.
Editor's note. There is a considerable literature on Paine. Among the biographies, in addition to Hawke, are two definitive studies by Alfred Owen Aldridge , Man of Reason, The Life of Tom Paine ( Philadelphia, 1959), and Eric Foner, Tom Paine and Revolutionary America ( New York, 1976). A competent short study is the contribution to the Twayne Series by Jerome Wilson and William Ricketson entitled Thomas Paine ( Boston, 1978). Somewhat more popular and sympathetic studies are Samuel Edwards, Rebel! A Biography of Tom Paine ( New York, 1974), and W. E. Woodward, America's Godfather ( New York, 1949). Reprinted by Greenwood Press in 1973. Worth noting is the essay by Crane Brinton in the Dictionary of American Biography (DAB), which should be contrasted with the perceptive evaluation by Leslie Stephen in the Dictionary of National Biography (DNB). Also valuable is the 107 page introduction by Harry R Clark, Thomas Paine: Representative Selectioins ( New York, 1944), and all students of Paine should refer to the first major biography by Moncure D. Conway, The Life of Thomas Paine ( 1892). Reprinted by Benjamin Blom in 1969. Studies which helped to bring a revival of interest in Paine are Harry FL. Clark, "Toward a Reinterpretation of Thomas Paine", American Literature, V ( 1933),133-145; Hesketh Pearson, Tom Paine, Friend of Mankind ( New York, 1937); Norman Sykes, "Thomas Paine," in F. J. C. Hearnshaw, ed., Social and Political Ideas of the Revolutionary Era ( 1931), pp. 100-140. The best in-depth study of Paine's political philosophy is Alfred Owen Aldridge, Thomas Paine's American Ideology ( 1974). Other studies of interest are Winthrop D. Jordan, "Familial Politics: Thomas Paine and the Killing of the King", Journal of American History, LX ( 1973), pp. 294-308;

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