It is the nature and intention of a constitution to prevent governing by party, by establishing a common principle that shall limit and control the power and impulse of party, and that says to all parties, thus far shalt thou go and no further. But in the absence of a constitution, men look entirely to party; and instead of principle governing party, party governs principle.
Republicans as well as Democrats would do well to heed these words of Thomas Paine, written in Paris in 1795.
It may very well be that the GOP so decisively turned out of the majority in Congress ran straight into the common principal Paine speaks of that ultimately limits abuses of power and impulses the excesses of party.
To many it is a relief that with a new party in the majority, a sense of balance may be restored. Party serving principal, instead of its opposite.
But pendulums do swing, and those that are elected can forget their hard won fights, their years in the political wilderness, and the promises made to those that elected them.
The frailties of man and the temptations of power can erode the ideals and good intentions of anyone, of any party.
And it is the highest grace bestowed upon us as a nation that the men of Thomas Paine’s generation created the founding principals of our government in the Constitution of the United States. It is by the light of this document that we survive as a nation of free men and women. And we shall remain free only as long as we protect and preserve it.
And so to the reader I ask; did you vote?
thomas paine election political party congress power elections democracy senate voting constitution
“That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of nations, is as shocking as it is true; but when those who are concerned in the government of a country, make it their study to sow discord, and cultivate prejudices between nations, it becomes the more unpardonable.”
During the French Revolution, Thomas Paine was a fervent supporter of the revolutionary cause, but became sharply critical of the resulting Reign of Terror, nearly facing the guillotine himself. Paine saw little justification of excessive violence, no matter what the cause invoked to justify that violence.
Can the bloody and senseless sectarian violence in Iraq truly have anything to do with Allah, God, or any divine being men claim to know? Whether it is unleashed by decades of totalitarian rule coupled by an ill-advised and poorly managed war, does the frenzy of violence of the past days, weeks, and months serve only to illustrate how little we have progressed toward the true ideal of living in the image of God?
We have it in our power to begin the world over again.
Thomas Paine lived during a truly remarkable time. The Age of enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution surely meant a brave new world was not only possible, but was unfolding right before his eyes.
Paine penned words that helped inspire a revolution; words that ring true to this day.
We will examine the current events of the day, the culture and issues we face, and we’ll consider what Thomas Paine may have thought. In his own words, as if he was a modern day blogger. After all, when you consider it, Thomas Paine was indeed the first American Blogger
This exercise is one we started in July of 2006 with another project sponsored by WorldHistory.com. We continue it here. We welcome you to join us.