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Thomas Paine: Motives for Rebellion


Walter Woll

The book is concerned with the question why Paine chose the most unlikely of all possible careers: that of the revolutionary, restless, never satisfied, ready to play a part in the great revolution of the French, whose language he did not understand.
Paine's writings, his letters, contemporary documents shed some light on this iridiscent personality who was all too often slandered but also sometimes admired as «America's godfather».
Contents: After a survey of Paine's changing image in the last two decades, a rough sketch of his life is drawn. In a next step the author investigates possible personal motives such as greed, egotism and hatred. An important role, according to the author, must be attributed to Paine's deism.