Thomas Paine Analysis

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Thomas Paine’s influential essays, titled The Rights of Man and Common Sense, argue that humans are born with natural rights. Paine views human natures as essentially good, but capable of evil. In order to contain this evil there needs to exist an over-arching institution that would provide stability and peace. Paine argued that the government would play this role. However, he viewed the government as a necessary evil. He writes, “society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness by positively uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices”. The government’s sole purpose is to protect the “life, liberty, and property” of humans, and as such, it will be judged exclusively on its ability to accomplish this purpose. Paine saw monarchy and hereditary rule as illegitimate, as it …show more content…

He acknowledges an inequality between the rich and the poor – however this is where the similarities between them end. Marx and Engels find that the bourgeoisie are able to become wealthy through the oppression of the proletariat. This is in contrast to Paine, who writes, “Oppression is often the consequence, but seldom or never the means of riches”. He believes that avarice keeps humans from being poor, and at the same time, great wealth frightens them. For Paine, the greatest inequality found is that between that tyrannical king and his subjects. Another area wherein Paine would have disagreement with Marx and Engels is that of the role of property. For Paine, humans are entitled to property; and it is so essential that a government must be created to protect it. This is in stark contrast to Marx and Engels, who regard property as the root of inequality, and advocate for its

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