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Common Sense

Thomas Paine. Common Sense: Addressed to the Inhabitants of America, on the following interesting subjects. I. Of the origin and design of government in general with concise remarks on the English constitution. II. Of monarchy and hereditary succession. III. Thoughts on the present state of American affairs. IV. Of the present ability of America, with some miscellaneous reflections.... Philadelphia:R. Bell, in Third-Street, 1776.

 

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THOMAS PAINE (1737-1809)
Common Sense

Born in Norfolk, England, Paine emigrated to America and aided the cause of American Independence through his writings, such as Common Sense. Paine placed great store in the New World as Utopia. Just as Joseph Smith later claimed that “Zion will be built upon this continent,” Paine proclaimed in Common Sense:

pixel.gif The Independence of America, considered merely as separation from England, would have been but a matter but of little importance, had it not been accompanied by a revolution in the principles and practice of governments. She made a stand, not only for herself only, but for the world.”

The utopian spirit in America was built into its foundations as a new republic whose Constitution stressed the equality of men as Thomas More and Campanella had, although instead of an equality of material goods, the American equality was to be a leveling of status. In 1792 Paine traveled to France to support the French Revolution, believing it to be the “first ripe fruits of American principles transplanted into Europe.” As late as 1992, George Bush was still describing America as “the last, best hope of mankind.”

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