Agrarian Justice by Thomas Paine by Thomas Paine - Read Online

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Thomas Paine (1737-1809) was an author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He has been called "a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination." Born in Thetford, in the English county of Norfolk, Paine emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 in time to participate in the American Revolution. His principal contributions were the powerful, widely read pamphlet "Common Sense" (1776), advocating colonial America's independence from Great Britain, and "The American Crisis" (1776-1783), a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series. Paine was also deeply involved in the early stages of the French Revolution. He wrote the "Rights of Man" (1791), in part a defence of the French Revolution against its critics, in particular the British statesman Edmund Burke. Despite not speaking French, he was elected to the French National Convention in 1792. The Girondists regarded him as an ally, so, the Montagnards, especially Robespierre, regarded him as an enemy. In December of 1793, he was arrested and imprisoned in Paris, then released in 1794. He became notorious because of "The Age of Reason" (1793-94), his book advocating deism, promoting reason and freethinking, and arguing against institutionalized religion and Christian doctrines. He also wrote the pamphlet "Agrarian Justice" (1795), discussing the origins of property, and introduced the concept of a guaranteed minimum income.
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ISBN: 9781625588487
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Agrarian Justice

By Thomas Paine

Start Publishing LLC

Copyright © 2012 by Start Publishing LLC

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

First Start Publishing eBook edition October 2012

Start Publishing is a registered trademark of Start Publishing LLC

Manufactured in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

ISBN 978-1-62558-848-7

Author’s Inscription (editors notes follow)

To the Legislature and the Executive Directory of the French Republic

THE plan contained in this work is not adapted for any particular country alone: the principle on which it is based is general. But as the rights of man are a new study in this world, and one needing protection from priestly imposture, and the insolence of oppressions too long established, I have thought it right to place this little work under your safeguard.

When we reflect on the long and dense night in which France and all Europe have remained plunged by their governments and their priests, we must feel less surprise than grief at the bewilderment caused by the first burst of light that dispels the darkness. The eye accustomed to darkness can hardly bear at first the broad daylight. It is by usage the eye learns to see, and it is the same inpassing from any situation to its opposite.

As we have not at one instant renounced all our errors, we cannot at one stroke acquire knowledge of all our rights. France has had the honor of adding to the word Liberty that of Equality; and this word signifies essentially a principle that admits of no gradation in the things to which it applies. But equality is often misunderstood, often misapplied, and often violated.

Liberty and Property are words expressing all those of our possessions which are not of an intellectual nature. There are two kinds of property. Firstly, natural property, or that which comes to us from the Creator of the universe--such as the earth,air, water. Secondly, artificial or acquired property--theinvention of men.

In the latter, equality is impossible; for to distribute it equally it would be necessary that all should have contributed in the same proportion, which can never be the case; and this being the case, every individual would hold on to