Thomas Paine, still relevant today?

Thomas Paine was a very influential, and controversial, historical figure during revolutionary times. During the American revolution he spoke out against British tyranny. He was a faithful friend and vicious enemy. He was always causing trouble by voicing his opinion openly, not caring who he hurt or offended. In 1775 he wrote his most famous work, “Common Sense.” This work was written in common everyday vernacular in order to speak to all people, not just the rich and well educated. This was one of the first works expressing a political opinion from such a blunt, bias perspective in America, and is still one of the most well known today. He was not afraid to step on toes as he constantly made fun of nearly everyone, from the King of England to his own friends (such as Thomas Jefferson). Paine spoke to the common ordinary person, and was calling them to make their own decisions about politics. He encouraged them to form their own opinions and to revolt, to take the country as their own. This was one of the major literary influences behind the start of the revolution. Paine’s work was widely published and read by most all colonists. It called for the colonists to pick up arms and retaliate, which they did. This illustrates how powerful and influential Thomas Paine really was. While now their are thousands of politicians and lobbyists trying to spread their thoughts and opinions about various political issues, none of them have had so much as half the influence that Thomas Paine had on the American people. Paine related the current issues in a way that interested and was understood by the common everyday people of his time, an ability most politicians of our time lack.

The following video elicits how Thomas Paine was a troublemaker, failed at many things, but ultimately influenced an entire country.
“Common Sense”

Thomas Paine was a visionary. He has many quotes that are still universally applicable today. While many are profound and relatively truthful, some are still very controversial today. His statement “The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion”
http://www.moonstoneartscenter.org/category/thomas-paine/
is a concept nearly none can grasp. For all history people have fought and discriminated against because of different beliefs, religions, ethnicities, and gender’s. Paine claims all people of all nations as his family and equals. He just wants to be a good person to all people. Think of all that has happened over the course of time since Paine was alive. From the women’s rights movement, to the Holocaust, to the Civil Rights movement, think of all the things that would not have been an issue if people could take this advice from Paine. Thomas Paine practiced what he preached. For example, Paine was one of the first and most influential Americans against slavery.

Paine left us with a lot to think about, and also some great advice with his many witty quotes. In this paragraph I will share some of my favorites, starting with “Character is much easier kept than recovered.” This statement is so truthful. One can go decades trying to rebuild their character, but once lost people often never completely trust you again. It is not all too hard to live a life of good character, but it is nearly impossible to regain your good character once you have lost it. Another of Paine’s quotes states “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. This is the exact opposite of how most people live their lives now. We live in an instant gratification, live it up country. Most, even if they say otherwise, are not at all concerned with the future generations. This is made evident through the fact that most Americans are not very concerned with issues such as global warming and fossil fuel emissions.
Quotes from this paragraph from: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/thomaspain159470.html

Industry and pollution are a major issue

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When I think about future generations and how we affect them, the first thing the comes to my mind is the environment. In the last century or so, from the Industrial Age to the present, pollution has changed the worlds climate in what could turn out to be catastrophic ways. Paine declares we should take on the future generations problems now, but instead we make matters worse and do not heed nature’s warning signs. Politicians today constantly tussle over what we should do, but for the most part pollution is still a major problem. Even the renowned children’s author Thedor Giesel, better known as Dr. Suess, wrote about the harmful affects of human industry on the environment. He did this in his work “The Lorax.” Looking out for future generations instead of ourselves has never been a priority in American society. We would all do good to apply Paine’s words of wisdom and take care of future issues such as pollution and global warming.

The following is a video giving a brief description about global warming:

Dr. Suess: “The Lorax”

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Thomas Paine was not shy about calling people out. He felt we should all do our fair share of work in society. He said, “Those who want to reap the benefits of this great nation must bear the fatigue of supporting it.” Needless to say, I bet Paine would not approve of all the handouts and social services offered in the United States today. He felt everyone should reap what they sow. He felt everyone should work and earn a living, not be lazy and taken care of by another. Paine also illustrates this as he states “The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.”Here he is telling us that adversity, struggles, and conflicts are what make us stronger, tougher people. Thomas Paine’s advice can be found through his works and statements and are still very applicable today. We can all learn from his stubborn, often controversial ways of always expressing how he felt no matter who disagreed or how much trouble he might get it. A lot can be taken away from Thomas Paine as I have illustrated above. There is plenty of knowledge and education to be found through the works of Paine and from the style by which he delivered his demanding calls for action and change. Paine’s works, statements, and style are still completely relevant to today’s world.
Quotes from this paragraph from: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/thomaspain159470.html

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Image of Thomas Paine:

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