The Legacy of Thomas Paine in the Transatlantic World

1st Edition

Sam Edwards, Marcus Morris

Published November 21, 2017
Reference - 248 Pages - 8 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781848935778 - CAT# Y211658

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As early as 1892, Moncure Conway, the author of the first scholarly Paine biography, noted that whilst Paine’s life up to 1809 was certainly fascinating, his subsequent life – that is, his afterlife – was even more thrilling. Vilified by Theodore Roosevelt as a "filthy little atheist," yet employed by Ronald Reagan in his campaign to make America "great again," Paine’s words and ideas have been both celebrated and dismissed by generations of politicians and presidents. An Englishman by birth, an American by adoption, and a Frenchman by decree, Paine has been invoked and appropriated by groups and individuals across the transatlantic political spectrum. This was particularly apparent following the bicentennial of Paine’s death in 2009, an event that prompted new scholarship examining troublesome Tom’s ideas and ideals, whilst in Thetford, Lewes and New Rochelle – his three transatlantic "homes" – he was feted and commemorated. Yet despite all this interest, the precise forms and function of Paine’s post-mortem presence have still not received the attention they deserve. With essays authored by experts on both sides of the Atlantic (and beyond), this book examines the transatlantic afterlife of Thomas Paine, offering new insights into the ways in which he has been used and abused, remembered and represented, in the two hundred years since his death.

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