Thomas Paine vs. Edmund Burke Essay

854 WordsMar 26, 20134 Pages
Two men, both fighting for the same cause during the American Revolution took different sides in the French Revolution because of their political views. Thomas Paine took the side of the French, opposing his own country, because he believed in a system where people can govern themselves. Edmund Burke took the side of the English because he was supporting his country and believed in a system where there needs to be a higher power to keep people in their place. Thomas Paine was a radical in the way he thought and believed in a total reform of the way people were living at that time. Burke was a Conservative and believed that things were fine just the way they were. Paine also believed in Thomas Jefferson’s statement all men are born equal…show more content…
The second contrasting point is that Paine believed in the total reform of society and Burke believed that things were fine just the way they were. Paine thought that if people wanted something to change, they could get it done. He wrote in his book Rights of Man that “revolutions were necessary to destroy this "barbarous system" in order to create the conditions for peace, commerce, lower taxes, and the "enjoyment of abundance.” He was referring to the American and French revolutions to get rid of the monarchy hold on them. Burke believed that wisdom of the past generations should rule current generations. He believed that everything set up by the past should not be reckoned with. He thought that laws, religious commandments, scriptures, and general ways of living were perfect just the way they were. Paine attacked this theory once again in his book Rights of Man by stating, “Governing from dead generations is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies.” Paine continuously attacked everything that Burke supported. These two men disliked each other very much. They continued to spread their theories though. The third contrasting point is that Paine believed that all men are created equal and they should be able to make something of themselves no matter their level of class.

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