Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Thomas Paine and a new system of government

I am fascinated by the way the arguments that drove political thought at the beginning of the U.S. of A. continue to resonate today. That was why I self-published a collection of letters that Thomas Paine wrote for publication in three different newspapers between 1802 and 1805.

Having returned from abroad, Paine was troubled by what he saw as a growing central government led by a powerful president – that wasn't what he had signed up for back in 1775. So he wrote these still-relevant warnings to his fellow citizens. For example:
The independence of America would have added but little to her own happiness, and been of no benefit to the world, if her government had been formed on the corrupt models of the old world. It was the opportunity of beginning the world anew, as it were; and of bringing forward a new system of government in which the rights of all men should be preserved that gave value to independence.
Here is a new ebook edition of that book, which contains three essays I wrote for the Montag blog in addition to Paine's exhortations:

Download the ebook by clicking on this link. (UPDATE: Link fixed - sorry about that.)

I also still have the paperback version of Letters to the Citizens of the United States available for purchase, and a word about that: Thomas Paine wrote these words with pen and paper, and they have been preserved for two centuries through the use of reliable printing presses in a form that doesn’t need special software or devices and therefore cannot become obsolete. In a paperback book these words will still be accessible even if you lose electric power: 

Purchase the book at this link.

I'm currently tinkering with another historic essay that, even more so, continues to echo through the centuries to the present day – Henry David Thoreau's Resistance to Civil Government, more familiarly known as Civil Disobedience. I am startled by how much Thoreau framed arguments that are still being made about the rights of the individual, the responsibility not to condone or support government wrongheadedness, and the power of nonviolent resistance.

It'll be an edition similar to the Paine book, showcasing the historic essay with an introduction by yours truly. The ebook will be free for the taking, and you'll be able to buy a more permanent copy published using dead trees, a renewable resource.

More about Thoreau in coming days. Meanwhile, enjoy and be enlightened by Thomas Paine, a truly revolutionary thinker. Download it here and purchase the paperback here.

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