Has Tom Paine Been Neglected by Historians ?

No way, says J.L. Bell at Boston 1775.  Here is his list of recent books on Paine:

  • Kenneth W. Burchell, Thomas Paine and America, 1776-1809 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2009).
  • Joyce Chumbley and Leo Zonneveld, Thomas Paine: In Search of the Common Good (Nottingham: Spokesman Books, 2009).
  • Gregory Claeys, Thomas Paine: Social and Political Thought (London: Routledge, 2003).
  • Paul Collins, The Trouble with Tom: The Strange Afterlife and Times of Thomas Paine (New York: Bloomsbury, 2005).
  • Seth Cotlar, Tom Paine’s America: The Rise and Fall of Transatlantic Radicalism in the Early Republic (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011).
  • Jack Fruchtman, The Political Philosophy of Thomas Paine (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009).
  • Christopher Hitchens, Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006).
  • Jane Hodson, Language and Revolution in Burke, Wollstonecraft, Paine, and Godwin (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007).
  • John P Kaminski, Citizen Paine: Thomas Paine’s Thoughts on Man, Government, Society, and Religion (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002).
  • Harvey J. Kaye, Thomas Paine and the Promise of America (New York: Hill and Wang, 2005).
  • Ronald Frederick King and Elsie Begler, Thomas Paine: Common Sense for the Modern Era (San Diego: San Diego State University Press, 2007).
  • Edward Larkin, Thomas Paine and the Literature of Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).
  • Scott Liell, 46 Pages: Thomas Paine, Common Sense, and the Turning Point to Independence (Philadelphia: Running Press, 2004).
  • Craig Nelson, Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations (New York: Viking Press, 2006).
  • Mark Philp, Thomas Paine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
  • Sophia A. Rosenfeld, Common Sense: A Political History (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2011).
  • Vikki J. Vickers, “My pen and my soul have ever gone together”: Thomas Paine and the American Revolution (New York: Routledge, 2006).
  • Bernard Vincent, The Transatlantic Republican: Thomas Paine and the Age of Revolutions (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2005). 

Hopefully many of these authors will be in attendance at Iona College in October for the upcoming  “International Conference of Thomas Paine Studies.”

According to Bell, if there is one founder who has been neglected it is John Dickinson.  It seems that the only person doing any major work on Dickinson these days is Jane Calvert of the University of Kentucky.  Anyone know of any other Dickinson scholarship in the pipeline?

Great post.

2 thoughts on “Has Tom Paine Been Neglected by Historians ?

  1. Indeed. So much recent work on Paine, in fact, that it is difficult to find a new angle.

    I wrote my first master's thesis on a topic closely related to Paine. At the time, I thought I had chosen a fresh perspective and framework. I finished, received high marks, and revised it into an article and submitted it it a respectable journal.

    Between the time I submitted it and when I heard back from the reviewers (five months or so), a book had been released on the very same topic, rendering my article redundant. I still cringe about it.


  2. Actually my list of Most Neglected Founder might start with Dr. Thomas Young or William Molineux. But then I am biased toward Boston and toward the run-up to the war. I chose Dickinson as a point of comparison because his writing, like Paine’s, was so influential up and down the coast.


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