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Thomas Paine’s Apostles: Radical emigrés and the triumph of Jeffersonian republicanism

Durey, M. (2018) Thomas Paine’s Apostles: Radical emigrés and the triumph of Jeffersonian republicanism. In: Kuklick, B., (ed.) Thomas Paine. Routledge as part of Taylor and Francis, pp. 187-214.

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The key to understanding eighteenth-century American political discourse since the publication of Caroline Robbins's The Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthman in 1959 and Bernard Bailyn's The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution in 1967 has been the recognition that political ideas from England and Scotland underpinned republican ideology. Historians have failed to appreciate the significant number of British and Irish radicals who fled to the United States in the 1790s. Utopian expectations are normally disappointed when confronted with reality, and the emigres' dreams were no exception. Many radicals were unpleasantly surprised by their initial reception in America. Far more important than the language of virtue for the emigres was the language of natural rights and the ethic of individualism. The emigres' emphasis on individual freedom and opportunity made their acceptance of commercial society inevitable. It was Thomas Paine who linked individualism and commerce most clearly.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Arts
Publisher: Routledge as part of Taylor and Francis
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