Alfred Owen Aldridge - Man of Reason

Man of Reason
HERE IS THE FIRST twentieth-century biography of Thomas Paine to be based on original research in France and England as well as in this country. If for no other reason than that, Man of Reason would be a valuable book, because few men in history have been so maligned and misunderstood as this fiery defender of the rights of man. This biography will do much to dispense the mythology that has gathered about the name of Thomas Paine.The author re-creates Paine's stormy life as a paradoxical one of alternating acclaim and rejection by a fickle public in three countries. The first to call publicly for American independence and a constitutional convention, Thomas Paine was given no voice in drawing up either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. He campaigned for popular rights in England; and as his books circulated by the thousands, the British government hounded him from the country.In France, he sat in the National Convention, then narrowly escaped the guillotine for allegedly "anti-revolutionary" sympathies. For eight years he worked to promote Franco-American friendship and was denounced for his efforts.Basing this biography on his thorough research of newly discovered manuscript and printed sources, Alfred Owen Aldridge has been able to give important new insight into the man who was one of the most eloquent defenders of humanity but how died in lonely obscurity, unrecognized and unrewarded."The strength of Aldridge's book lies in its thorough investigation of primary sources. The author worked to good purpose in French and British archives, not just the repositories in Paris and London, but also in various provincial collections. What Paine's life most needed was a scholar who could find his way around in European libraries. The result is a book that supersedes all previous biographies of Paine."—James Woodress, Science & Society

ISBN: 9781789127317

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