Bill talks with Harvey J. Kaye, the founding director of the Center for History and Social Change at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, about Thomas Paine, whom Kaye calls “the greatest radical of a radical age.”
Paine’s extraordinary life was both glorious and tragic. He was not always revered as some of our other founding fathers were. During his lifetime he was often feared and lampooned, and under constant threat of prison and death. In his book, Thomas Paine and the Promise of America, Kaye notes that Paine has again become currency in political debate because of a revolutionary idea that spread from the colonies to France and around the globe “that the common people… could be citizens and not merely subjects. That people had it within themselves not only to listen to their superiors, but literally to speak to each other and deliberate and govern themselves.”
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