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In Paine was readmitted to the French National Convention, and again he began to use his pen to clarify certain basic political issues arising in Europe.
This pamphlet, published in Paris early in July,was originally written for distribution in Holland where Paine's Rights of Man was not very well known. But it was also used in France in connection with the discussion in the French National Convention on the Constitution of Paine objected to several features in the proposed Constitution, especially its restrictions on universal manhood suffrage.
He makes his position clear in Dissertation on the first principles of government thomas paine pamphlet when he writes: To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another, and he that has not a vote in the election of representatives is in this case.
His security, be he rich or poor, and in a great measure his prosperity, are connected therewith; it is therefore his interest as well as his duty to make himself acquainted with its principles, and what the practise ought to be.
Every art and science, however imperfectly known at first, has been studied, improved and brought to what we call perfection by the progressive labors of succeeding generations; but the science of government has stood still.
No improvement has been made in the principle and scarcely any in the practise till the American Revolution began. In all the countries of Europe except in France the same forms and systems that were erected in the remote ages of ignorance still continue, and their antiquity is put in the place of principle; it is forbidden to investigate their origin, or by what right they exist.
If it be asked how has this happened, the answer is easy: Notwithstanding the mystery with which the science of government has been enveloped, for the purpose of enslaving, plundering and imposing upon mankind, it is of all things the least mysterious and the most easy to be understood.
The meanest capacity cannot be at a loss, if it begins its inquiries at the right point. Every art and science has some point, or alphabet, at which the study of that art or science begins, and by the assistance of which the progress is facilitated.
The same method ought to be observed with respect to the science of government. Instead then of embarrassing the subject in the outset with the numerous subdivisions under which different forms of government have been classed, such as aristocracy, democracy, oligarchy, monarchy, etc.
The primary divisions are but two: First, government by election and representation. Secondly, government by hereditary succession.
All the several forms and systems of government, however numerous or diversified, class themselves under one or other of those primary divisions; for either they are on the system of representation, or on that of hereditary succession.
As to that equivocal thing called mixed government, such as the late Government of Holland, and the present Government of England, it does not make an exception to the general rule, because the parts separately considered are either representative or hereditary.
Beginning then our inquiries at this point, we have first to examine into the nature of those two primary divisions. If they are equally right in principle, it is mere matter of opinion which we prefer.
If the one be demonstratively better than the other that difference directs our choice; but if one of them should be so absolutely false as not to have a right of existence the matter settles itself at once; because a negative proved on one thing, where two only are offered, and one must be accepted, amounts to an affirmative on the other.
The revolutions that are now spreading themselves in the world have their origin in this state of the case, and the present war is a conflict between the representative system founded on the rights of the people, and the hereditary system founded in usurpation.
As to what are called monarchy, royalty and aristocracy, they do not, either as things or as terms, sufficiently describe the hereditary system; they are but secondary things or signs of the hereditary system, and which fall of themselves if that system has not a right to exist.
Were there no such terms as monarchy, royalty and aristocracy, or were other terms substituted in their place, the hereditary system, if it continued, would not be altered thereby. It would be the same system under any other titulary name as it is now.
The character therefore of the revolutions of the present day distinguishes itself most definitely by grounding itself on the system of representative government, in opposition to the hereditary. No other distinction reaches the whole of the principle. Having thus opened the case generally, I proceed, in the first place, to examine the hereditary system because it has the priority in point of time.
The representative system is the invention of the modern world; and, that no doubt may arise as to my own opinion, I declare it before- hand, which is, that there is not a problem in Euclid more mathematically true than that hereditary government has not a right to exist.
When therefore we take from any man the exercise of hereditary power we take away that which he never had the right to possess, and which no law or custom could, or ever can, give him a title to.
The arguments that have hitherto been employed against the hereditary system have been chiefly founded upon the absurdity of it, and its incompetency to the purpose of good government.
Nothing can present to our judgment, or to our imagination, a figure of greater absurdity, than that of seeing the government of a nation fall, as it frequently does, into the hands of a lad necessarily destitute of experience, and often little better than a fool.
It is an insult to every man of years, of character, and of talents, in a country. The moment we begin to reason upon the hereditary system, it falls into derision; let but a single idea begin and a thousand will soon follow.
Insignificance, imbecility, childhood, dotage, want of moral character; in fine, every defect, serious or laughable, unite to hold up the hereditary system as a figure of ridicule.
Leaving, however, the ridiculousness of the thing to the reflections of the reader, I proceed to the more important part of the question, namely, whether such a system has a right to exist.The Writings Of Thomas Paine, Volume III., by Dissertation on First Principles of Government XXV.
The Constitution of The first convert of Paine to pure republicanism in France was Achille Duchâtelet, son of the Duke, and grandson of the authoress,--the friend of Voltaire. It was he and Paine who, after the flight of Louis XVI.
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In its determination to preserve the century of revolutionAuthor: Thomas Paine. Dissertation on first principles of government. By Thomas Paine. [Thomas Paine] on initiativeblog.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The 18th century was a wealth of knowledge, exploration and rapidly growing technology and expanding record-keeping made possible by advances in the printing press.
In its determination to preserve the . Dissertation on first-principles of government; Item Preview Dissertation on first-principles of government; by Paine, Thomas, Wherein he alludes to the preceding work", p. , has separate caption title Adams, T.R. Thomas Paine Echeverria & Wilkie.
French image English short title catalogue John Carter Brown. Thomas Paine, Dissertation on the First Principles of Government Life The true and only true basis of representative government is equality of rights. Thomas Paine / Dissertations on First Principles of Government..
Dissertations on First Principles of Government Thomas Paine There is no subject more interesting to every man than the subject of government.