thomas paine and african americans
Posted in the African-American Forum
#1 Jun 9, 2007
First of all, I wish to say I am very honoured to speak on Thomas Paine, whom I consider to be one of the greatest men who ever walked on earth.
I read this when I was in school and I have never forgotten it all these years. This is one of the most powerful quotes I have ever read in my life and which has greatly influenced me.
The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.
As they say , "Quality is better than quantity."
This single quote of Paine, is worth more than a thousand religious discourses and a thousand discourses on philosophy.
In the past few weeks , I have been going throug his amazing works online, studying them, especially "The Age of Reason" , and I found it to be very educative indeed.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see that Abraham Lincoln , an another hero of mine, was a student of Paine as well, and had gone through Paines works carefully. And Lincoln is considered world wide to be americas greatest president.
So did Americas greatest inventor, Thomas Alva Edison, who is a self-confessed fan of Paine.
And so indeed is Robert Ingersoll, one of Americas greatest humanists,political leaders and orators, who himself have influenced millions.
I also learned that it was Thomas Paine himself, who coined the name,'United States of America '.
Paine was also a fighter for abolition, women's rights, child's rights and animal rights long before they became popular.
It is also a fact that Thomas Paine was the man who influenced and created the american revolution , and greatly influenced the french revolution as well, both of which set the example and standard for republicanism, democracy and equality to the whole world. And indeed every nation and people who pride on their democracy, republicanism and equality and freedom should be grateful to Thomas Paine.
And what I most admire in Paine is his terrific strength of character, which never compromised on his principles.
In fact his staunch idealism and integrity created problems for him in life, as he attacked even his friends who were not following what he felt to be right and proper.
For example Paine attacked Washington, saying "I do not know whether you have lost your principles or that you never had any" ,when he realized that the American revolution had been hijacked by an elite, as was happening in France. He was also violently opposed to Washington owning slaves.
Napoleon claimed he slept with a copy of 'Rights of Man' under his pillow and went so far as to say to Paine that "a statue of gold should be erected to you in every city in the universe." However, Paine quickly moved from admiration to condemnation as he saw Napoleon's moves towards dictatorship, calling him "the completest charlatan that ever existed."
I guess if Paine was a hypocrite , and didn't criticize Washington or Napoleon, his life would have been much easier . That indeed is true, but I guess Paine 'unfortunately' had too much strength of character , which prevented him from doing anything of that sort.
Which reminds me of a quote by George Bernard Shaw...
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. "
#3 Jun 9, 2007
This is one of the best lessons I've had and I thank you. Please post again. Excuse the frightening noise you may hear in this forum. Most of us are more civilized than we at first appear.
#4 Jun 9, 2007
Thanks a lot, and i do not consider my african-american brothers and sisters to be uncivilized or something. It is pure nonsense. I admire martin Luther King heavily. He is one of the greatest men who have lived on earth.
#5 Jun 9, 2007
King idolized Ghandi, bur of course MLK was a great man. Look at the example he had. India sees a side, literally, of Africa that we don't easily see. Your views about Africa, India or elsewhere are valuable.
Some, here, say that India embodys the oldest civlization on earth. African Americans, by comparison, embodies a young hybrid aggregate of people. Unlike India, our customs are not set. Consequently, there are many, many paths for us to follow.
Thanks for your kind words.
#6 Jun 10, 2007
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