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In "Rights of Man", Paine describes his vision of a republican government. Today, has...

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turtleshell | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 23, 2011 at 3:26 PM via web

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In "Rights of Man", Paine describes his vision of a republican government. Today, has the United States grown apart from his vision?

My question is simply asking that in 2011, has the United States remained the same country that Paine was describing in terms of freedom and opportunity?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 23, 2011 at 4:29 PM (Answer #2)

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Even though much has changed in the vision that Paine had of America to the modern version of the nation today, I think that some of Paine's fundamental assertions are still true today.  America has represented the basic idea that democracy is an ongoing experiment, where individual freedom and personal liberty are protected at all costs.  While mistakes have been made in its two century plus history, I think that for the most part, Paine's ideas have still been proven true.  Paine used America as a model against monarchy and the propensity for dictatorship.  In this light, he was right in that the United States has remained loyal to its Constitution over time.  America has been one of the few nations that has been able to weather the storms of change without having to worry about the potential for a dictatorship in the process.  "Monarchy" and "privilege" have not been the reasons for American success.  The very narrative of America's current President is a reflection of how democratic sensibilities are still alive and well in America today.  The current President of the United States did not come from landed wealth or aristocracy.  He did not come from a line of descendants that handed him the keys to the White House.  "Privilege" was not readily associated with his background. However, he is the President of a nation that represents the very essence of how constitutional democracy can work.  Certainly, the nation has faults and its political system is one of them.  Yet, in terms of Paine's overall vision of how America is an example that repudiates monarchical rule, I think that this aspect has been proven to be as true today as it was in Paine's time.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 28, 2011 at 11:27 AM (Answer #3)

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I believe that the US is, if anything, more of a republican country than it was in the time that Paine was writing.  Since the time of the Revolution, the right to vote in the United States has been extended many times.  We have gone from being a country where only white men with a certain amount of property could typically vote to a country where all people over 18 are eligible.  This is a huge move towards more democracy.

Paine thought the US was a good example of a country that was moving away from monarchy and aristocracy and towards a republican form of government.  I think that we have continued to move in that direction and are a better country than we were when he wrote.

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