2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
    Jan 17, 2022  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog

POL 319 - Thomas Paine and the Struggle for Democracy


The structure of the course will explore the main features of Paine’s political philosophy, their origins, achievements and impact. Paine’s philosophy is rooted in axioms based on common sense - equality (the source of natural rights), materialism (the world is knowable and objective), human progress (“no one should live in a state worse than before civilization”), and the inherent goodness and collectivist nature of mankind. Based upon these axioms, Paine erected a four-fold paradigm of democracy: social and economic justice, evolving democratic structures and the nature of constitutions, free thought, and mass participation (right of revolution). Each will be examined historically as Paine’s life and writings are played out against the backdrop of the rise of the age of the democratic revolutions. Attention will be paid to how Paine advanced these ideas, and the seminal revolutionary nature of his philosophy.
Lecture
Credits: 3
Offered in Alternate Years