Natalia Papenko, Evgen Papenko. Society and State in the Works of Thomas Paine

Natalia Papenko

Ph. D. (History), associate Prof., National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv, Ukraine

Evgen Papenko

Ph. D., National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv, Ukraine

UDС 94(73) : 316.3 Т. Пейн



The article discovers the philosophical, socio-political views of the famous American enlightener, philosopher, and participant of the war for independence of northern American colonies of Great Britain – Thomas Paine (1737-1809).
The article aims to demonstrate that the equality of people in accordance with their nature has been the main motive of Thomas Paine’s social philosophy. “Natural rights” have been determined by him as those pertaining to a human according to the right of its existence.

Thomas Paine, being one of the first American enlighteners, has proved that the terms of “state” and “society” had appeared independently. The humans’ need of the social process, saving of their natural rights had forced them to unite into a society.
This statement of the enlightener has been extremely important and accurate: “The society is produced by our desires, and government is produces by our wickedness… The society in every state is a blessing, but the government…is nothing but a necessary evil, and otherwise – an intolerable one”. It is proved that all philosophic works of T. Paine have been pierced by the thought about the inevitability of the state creation. The origin and the existence of state power becomes possible only under the social agreement, as exactly according thereto the humanity is able to realize its natural rights, and only under the social agreement the supreme power in the state shall belong to the nation.

The article analyzes T. Paine’s conception about the leadership of the nation, republican principles and representative system of government in the republic form.

The contemporaries called Thomas Paine “the British Voltaire” for his fight against willfulness of the church and clergy. He believed in the power of greatness of Mind and Virtue, which had to destroy the wickedness of civilizational society.

Key words

State, constitution, social agreement, democracy, right for revolution.

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