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Thomas Paine has been celebrated for his role in persuading the American colonists to revolt against Britain and declare their independence. At the same time, however, scholars have generally dismissed his writings as propaganda. This book demonstrates that Paine was a skilled and sophisticated writer and thinker who transformed political literature in the late eighteenth century by creating a new literature of politics that bridged political philosophy and the everyday, common-sensical knowledge of ordinary people. The impact of this new political language would be remarkable as it energized a mass public to participate in the arena of politics, an arena from which they had been excluded.
Table of Contents
Inventing an American public: the Pennsylvania Magazine and revolutionary American political discourse
'Could the Wolf Bleat Like the Lamb': Paine's critique of the early American public sphere
Writing revolutionary history
The science of revolution: technological metaphors and scientific methodology in Rights of Man and The Age of Reason
'Strong Friends and Violent Enemies': the historical construction of Thomas Paine through the nineteenth century
Epilogue: Paine and nineteenth-century American literary history
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.