Parties


Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion;  and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think.

Thomas Paine – Rights of Man

From Tom Paine and Revolutionary America by Eric Foner, beginning on pg 87, “For Paine, what distinguished republican government was not the ‘particular form’ of government but its object:  “the public good.”  Sprinkled through Paine’s writings are references to “the cloven foot” of faction,” and the need to prevent “governing by party.”  Both class and party conflict were, in a sense, incompatible with the essence of republicanism, which, Paine believed, “does not admit of an interest distinct from that of the nation.”  Legislation, for Paine, should simply reflect the united interest of a homogenous people, rather than private or narrow needs.  “Whatever is of consequence to any, is so to all,” Paine wrote in 1779, “for wealth like water soon spreads over the surface. . . .

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