E457 Tom Paine Questions

Assigned: The Rights of Man (133-37). Use Paine Etext if Norton unavailable.

1. On 134, what basic principles does Thomas Paine enunciate concerning the present generation's relation to past generations? How does he show his "Americanism" here?

2. On 135-36, how does Paine undermine Burke's claims about the causes of the French Revolution? What does Paine himself believe to be the cause of that great event?

3. On 136-37, how does Paine connect Burke's rhetorical emphasis with his argument about the French Revolution? As with Wollstonecraft, in what sense does he imply that this emphasis undermines Burke's argument?

4. On 137, Paine says approvingly that the French Revolution has been "marked with so few sacrifices." This comment was made before the Jacobin reign of terror began — does that piece of historical hindsight change your estimation of Paine's optimistic claims about the Revolution and human nature? Explain.

Edition: Abrams, M. H. et al. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 2A. 7th ed. ISBN 2A = 0393975681.

Created by admin. Last Modification: Saturday 11 February, 2006 11:17:06 AM PST by admin.

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