Making History: Thomas Paine [16:14]


A great interview with researcher Cheryl Hudson on the life, political role, and legacy of one of America’s greatest Founding Fathers: Thomas Paine.  While not a politician, Paine was the leading public thinker of the Revolution, inspiring and educating the American masses on the key issues of monarchy, democracy, and human rights.  Though not discussed much in the video, Paine was also a Freethinker and Deist, rejecting the hegemony of the church as well as the crown.

Discussion Questions

  • What was the main role that Thomas Paine played in the Revolutionary War?  Why was that role important?
  • What do you think Paine meant by “My country is the world and to do good is my religion”?
  • Without a common purpose and shared set of values – like “the contagion of liberty” – do you think the American under dog would have been able to unify and win the war?
  • Do you think we’re seeing the word wide fruition of liberty, human rights, and so on which Paine fought for?
  • Do you think there is a parallel between God/the Church and the King/Monarchy that Paine saw?  How might they be similar and different?
  • Do you think government is a “necessary evil”?  Where is it necessary and where isn’t it?

Keywords: Thomas Paine, Famous Freethinkers, Founding Fathers, America, history, deist


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