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Thomas Paine

Date de naissance: 29. janvier 1737
Date de décès: 8. juin 1809
Autres noms:Пейн Томас

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Thomas Paine, né le 29 janvier 1737 à Thetford en Grande-Bretagne et mort le 8 juin 1809 à New York aux États-Unis, est un intellectuel, pamphlétaire, révolutionnaire britannique, américain et français. Il est connu pour son engagement durant la révolution américaine en faveur de l'indépendance des treize colonies britanniques en Amérique du Nord. Il a exposé ses positions dans un célèbre pamphlet intitulé Le Sens commun, publié quelques mois avant la signature de la Déclaration d’indépendance américaine en 1776.

Ses écrits, parmi lesquels figure Rights of Man , ont également exercé une grande influence sur les acteurs de la Révolution française : il est élu député à l’assemblée nationale en 1792. Considéré par les Montagnards comme un allié des Girondins, il est progressivement mis à l’écart, notamment par Robespierre, puis emprisonné en décembre 1793.

Après la Terreur, il est relâché et connaît un certain succès grâce à son livre Le Siècle de la raison qui analyse le christianisme et milite en faveur du déisme. Dans Agrarian Justice , il analyse les origines du droit de propriété et introduit le concept de revenu de base ou universel, proche du revenu minimum.

Thomas Paine resta en France jusqu’en 1802, période pendant laquelle il critique l’ascension de Napoléon Bonaparte, qualifiant le Premier Consul de « charlatan le plus parfait qui eût jamais existé ». Sur l’invitation du président Thomas Jefferson, il revient aux États-Unis où il meurt en 1809 à 72 ans.

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Citations Thomas Paine

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„The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.“

— Thomas Paine, A Letter Addressed to the Abbe Raynal on the Affairs of North America

„Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.“

— Thomas Paine, Rights of Man
Context: I speak an open and disinterested language, dictated by no passion but that of humanity. To me, who have not only refused offers, because I thought them improper, but have declined rewards I might with reputation have accepted, it is no wonder that meanness and imposition appear disgustful. Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good. Part 2.7 Chapter V. Ways and means of improving the condition of Europe, interspersed with miscellaneous observations

„I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. '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
Context: It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. '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. My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear as a ray of light. Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to "bind me in all cases whatsoever" to his absolute will, am I to suffer it? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king or a common man; my countryman or not my countryman; whether it be done by an individual villain, or an army of them? If we reason to the root of things we shall find no difference; neither can any just cause be assigned why we should punish in the one case and pardon in the other. Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. The Crisis No. I.

„As to the Christian system of faith, it appears to me as a species of Atheism — a sort of religious denial of God. It professes to believe in a man rather than in God. It is a compound made up chiefly of Manism with but little Deism, and is as near to Atheism as twilight is to darkness.“

— Thomas Paine
Context: As to the Christian system of faith, it appears to me as a species of Atheism — a sort of religious denial of God. It professes to believe in a man rather than in God. It is a compound made up chiefly of Manism with but little Deism, and is as near to Atheism as twilight is to darkness. It introduces between man and his Maker an opaque body, which it calls a Redeemer, as the moon introduces her opaque self between the earth and the sun, and it produces by this means a religious, or an irreligious, eclipse of light. It has put the whole orbit of reason into shade.

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„He investigates nothing to its source, and therefore he confounds everything“

— Thomas Paine
Context: To possess ourselves of a clear idea of what government is, or ought to be, we must trace it to its origin. In doing this we shall easily discover that governments must have arisen either out of the people or over the people. Mr. Burke has made no distinction. He investigates nothing to its source, and therefore he confounds everything; but he has signified his intention of undertaking, at some future opportunity, a comparison between the constitution of England and France. As he thus renders it a subject of controversy by throwing the gauntlet, I take him upon his own ground. It is in high challenges that high truths have the right of appearing; and I accept it with the more readiness because it affords me, at the same time, an opportunity of pursuing the subject with respect to governments arising out of society. Part 1.3 Rights of Man

„The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil.“

— Thomas Paine
Context: Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil.

„I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.“

— Thomas Paine
Context: I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consists in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy. http://books.google.com/books?id=mHpbAAAAQAAJ&q="I+believe+in+one+God+and+no+more+and+I+hope+for+happiness+beyond+this+life+I+believe+the+equality+of+man+and+I+believe+that+religious+duties+consists+in+doing+justice+loving+mercy+and+endeavoring+to+make+our+fellow+creatures+happy"&pg=PA3#v=onepage.

„But the dejection lasts only for a moment; they soon rise out of it with additional vigor; the glow of hope, courage and fortitude, will, in a little time, supply the place of every inferior passion, and kindle the whole heart into heroism.“

— Thomas Paine
Context: Men who are sincere in defending their freedom, will always feel concern at every circumstance which seems to make against them; it is the natural and honest consequence of all affectionate attachments, and the want of it is a vice. But the dejection lasts only for a moment; they soon rise out of it with additional vigor; the glow of hope, courage and fortitude, will, in a little time, supply the place of every inferior passion, and kindle the whole heart into heroism. The Crisis No. IV.

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„There never did, there never will, and there never can, exist a Parliament, or any description of men, or any generation of men, in any country, possessed of the right or the power of binding and controlling posterity to the "end of time," or of commanding for ever how the world shall be governed“

— Thomas Paine
Context: There never did, there never will, and there never can, exist a Parliament, or any description of men, or any generation of men, in any country, possessed of the right or the power of binding and controlling posterity to the "end of time," or of commanding for ever how the world shall be governed, or who shall govern it; and therefore all such clauses, acts or declarations by which the makers of them attempt to do what they have neither the right nor the power to do, nor the power to execute, are in themselves null and void. Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself in all cases as the age and generations which preceded it. The vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies. Man has no property in man; neither has any generation a property in the generations which are to follow. Part 1.3 Rights of Man

„Toleration is not the opposite of Intolerance, but is the counterfeit of it. Both are despotisms.“

— Thomas Paine
Context: Toleration is not the opposite of Intolerance, but is the counterfeit of it. Both are despotisms. The one assumes to itself the right of withholding Liberty of Conscience, and the other of granting it. The one is the Pope armed with fire and faggot, and the other is the Pope selling or granting indulgences. The former is church and state, and the latter is church and traffic. Part 1.3 Rights of Man

„We profess, and we proclaim in peace, the pure, unmixed, comfortable, and rational belief of a God, as manifested to us in the universe.“

— Thomas Paine
Context: It was the excess to which imaginary systems of religion had been carried, and the intolerance, persecutions, burnings, and massacres, they occasioned, that first induced certain persons to propagate infidelity; thinking, that upon the whole, that it was better not to believe at all, than to believe a multitude of things and complicated creeds, that occasioned so much mischief in the world. But those days are past, persecution has ceased, and the antidote then set up against it has no longer even the shadow of apology. We profess, and we proclaim in peace, the pure, unmixed, comfortable, and rational belief of a God, as manifested to us in the universe. We do this without any apprehension of that belief being made a cause of persecution as other beliefs have been, or of suffering persecution ourselves. To God, and not to man, are all men to account for their belief.

„We have every opportunity and every encouragement before us, to form the noblest purest constitution on the face of the earth. We have it in our power to begin the world over again.“

— Thomas Paine
Context: We have every opportunity and every encouragement before us, to form the noblest purest constitution on the face of the earth. We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand, and a race of men, perhaps as numerous as all Europe contains, are to receive their portion of freedom from the event of a few months.

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