- ›› Coverage People : Thomas Paine
Of all the American founders, Thomas Jefferson is most closely associated with deism, the Enlightenment faith in a rational, law-governed world created by a “supreme architect” or cosmic “clockmaker.”
Philadelphia was the commercial and cultural hub of the British colonies and is indelibly linked in Americans’ minds as the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the writing of the US Constitution.
After the Revolutionary War, the reformist wing of the American Revolutionists began to inscribe plans for striking at the heart of colonial inequalities and conservative governmental structures. The reformers were met with plenty of resistance from social, economic, and political conservatives, and they by no means reached all their goals. Nobody put pen to paper to carve out a systematic plan for thoroughgoing reform. Rather, different groups, different men and women, different organizations, each with their own experiences and hopes for the future, espoused a variety of changes.
British North Americans were not the only group of European colonists in the Americas to rebel against their distant rulers in this era. Beginning in 1808, those in Spain’s vast American empire—spanning from Mexico in the north to Buenos Aires in the south; Peru in the west to the present-day coast of Venezuela in the east—rose up against Spanish rule.
Glossary Term – Event
Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense, promoting independence for the colonies, was published. It sold more than 100,000 copies in three months.
Glossary Term – Person
Thomas Paine (1737–1809) was the English-born son of a Quaker who launched his career as a radical in 1772. He was dismissed from his job as an excise officer in England in 1772 for leading an agitation for higher pay. Two years later he emigrated to America. Paine was a vehement supporter of the patriot cause and his Common Sense (1776) and sixteen-part series The Crisis (1776–1783) made him one of America’s leading pamphleteers. In 1787 Paine returned to England, where...
These teaching resources and interactive incorporate excerpts from Revolutionary era books exhibited in Liberty and Revolution at the Princeton University Library in 2009. Drawn from the collection of Sid Lapidus, the exhibition and accompanying catalogue marked the gift of these printed works to Princeton University.
The use of these selected primary sources from the Sid Lapidus Collection...