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Thomas Paine and Modern Liberalism Part 2 | The New School

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Published on Jan 22, 2010

The New School for Social Research based in New York City, offers master's and doctoral programs in anthropology, economics, philosophy, politics, psychology, and sociology; interdisciplinary master's programs in historical studies and liberal studies | http://www.newschool.edu/nssr

A new era for politics is struck; a new method of thinking has arisen. So proclaimed Thomas Paine in 1776, making the case for American independence. But Paine did not stop there. For the next forty-some years until his death in 1809, he continued to sound the call for change on both sides of the Atlantic: the eradication of hereditary government and privilege; enfranchisement for the common man; abolition of slavery; freedom from organized religion; a preliminary blueprint for Social Security; an end to barbaric punishments; and, not least, an end to unnecessary wars. Fast forward two hundred years, from We have it in our power to begin the world over again to Yes we can: it is hardly surprising that Paines emphasis on change continues to reverberate in our nation -- and that Barack Obama himself would tap into this spirit by citing lines from Paines first American Crisis paper in his inaugural speech. Yet, even with change on the national agenda, we are still left with that which Paine identified as the curious phenomenon of a nation looking one way, and a government the other—the one forward and the other backward." The issues of poverty, inequality, torture and faith-determined legislation (to name only a few) remain as vexed as ever.

THE NEW SCHOOL | http://www.newschool.edu

2:30-3:45 p.m.: Lecture on "Paine, Obama, and the Concept of Change in 2009" by John Nichols (Washington correspondent, The Nation)

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