Thomas Paine was a man whom was a great political, philosopher. Love him or hate him, he managed to influence two of the greatest revolutions in history. This perhaps explains why John Adams in 1805 said ‘I know not whether any man in the world has had more influence on its in- habitants or affairs for the last 30 years than Tom Paine’. Thomas Paine was a man whom optimised hope, dedication to a cause, belief in mankind, and optimism, and it is my intent to explore in this essay just why he was so optimistic.
I believe this answer relies on two important things: the nature of the events going on at the time between *****, and his outlook on life including his beliefs, the way in which he looks at things, and his faith in his cause. These two factors tie very much together as to explaining his optimism hence as one examines it closely, you can conspicuously see what was inspiring his optimism; the revolutionary feeling in the air, and what was inspiring the cause and influence for a revolution; his optimism that things where going to change for the good.
Out of this creation came a man whom believed that from the revolutions of both America and France, that ‘.. it is evident that the opinion of the world is changing with respect to systems of Government.. ‘, and that was his ultimate aim. The events that where unleashing at this time seemed to be just doing this, and that is why he was so optimistic. His optimistic outlook on life, fuelled with his innate wisdom and passion shows just how much primary importance his beliefs where to him, and his faith that ‘the truth’ will ultimately be realised made him so much more optimistic.
Certain as I am that when opinions are free, either in matters of government or religion, truth will finally and powerfully prevail’ – Chapter 3 The Age of Reason. One can see that he confidently believed that the truth ***what was the truth*** will come out, and that this was the time in which it was happening. In the conclusion of the infamous The Rights of Man, he uses profound, confident revelations of what the revolutions of America and France are going to do. They are ‘.. a renovation of the natural order of things, a system of principles as universal as truth and the existence of man… ‘.
Once again, we see his passion and optimism at the way that things where going – exactly the way he wanted. Even during times of adversary, for example during the American Revolution, he maintained his optimism. This can be explained once again due to the compassion he believed in. ‘Men are born, and always continue, free and equal in respect of their rights’ – The Rights of Man. Thomas Paine believed whole heartedly in what he was doing, and even went as far as saying that God would not ‘… leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war…
His almost patriotic (even though he was not from America) faith and devotion to the American people, (which led them to hail him as one of the American causes great spokesmen) is apparent because of his optimism that they where doing the right thing. Moreover, he even told the troops that ‘.. we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph’ You cannot get more apparent optimism and rightednous than this. Looking at the context of what was going on around this time is imperative as it explains his optimism.
His belief that there where going to be even more revolutions, ‘It is an age of Revolutions, in which everything may be looked for’ – Conclusion in The Rights of Man, and his belittling of past revolutions which ‘.. were little more than a change of persons, or an alteration of local circumstances…. had nothing in their existence or their fate… ‘, shows how important he felt the American and French revolutions where in changing this new world order. Subjects that he did not agree on where being uprooted and challenged (much to the horror of Burke), and he had every right to be optimistic.