Fitzsimons on “The Use and Abuse of Thomas Paine”

David Fitzsimons (Lecturer, HPSS) presented a paper at the conference “Citizen of the World: The Use and Abuse of Thomas Paine c.1809-2009,” hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University.

Fitzsimons’ paper argued that Paine believed in a policy of “Idealistic Internationalism.” He believed that the American Revolution would begin a transformation of international relations that would bring down the extant Westphalian system that he believed was designed by what he called The State to exploit what he called Society. The American Revolution had spread to France and had commenced a New World Order in which societies would overthrow despotic states and create democratic governments that would reflect the interests of society. A new international system based on peace, commerce, and a congress of nations would result.

Citizen of the World: The Use and Abuse of Thomas Paine c.1809-2009

The bicentennial of the death of Thomas Paine in 2009 saw new attention directed towards Paine’s life and times, but his legacy has still not received the attention it deserves. Vilified by Theodore Roosevelt as a ‘filthy little atheist’, yet adopted by Ronald Reagan in his campaign to make America ‘great again’, Paine’s life and legacy have been both celebrated and dismissed by generations of politicians and presidents. An Englishman by birth, a Frenchman by decree and a citizen of the world, Paine has also been invoked, discussed and appropriated by many others, in many walks of life, across the world. This conference examined the afterlife of Paine and the ways in which he has been used and abused in the two hundred years since his death.

DOWNLOAD THE FINAL PROGRAMME: FINAL.Thomas Paine Conference Programme. Nov 2013


David Fitzsimons, HPSS, Manchester Metropolitan University, News, Thomas Paine

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