Great thinkers in the history of democracy

“The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind,” according to one of the greatest American independence advocates, Thomas Paine.

A small group gathered in the Timpanogos room of the library for a discussion on democracy and Thomas Paine. Vikki J. Vickers, Assistant Professor of History at Weber State University, led the monthly ethics forum.

America is one of the most successful democratic societies in history. “It is astonishing how quickly it (the United States) has come to be. Comparatively it took a very short time; as of Tuesday (election day) we became the nation we were supposed to be,” said Vickers.

Paine’s vision was for America to be a beacon of freedom in the world. He believed that Americans have the power to be given the world over again. Paine was the first to use the term United States of America and referred to colonists as Americans.

In his time Paine had three of the four world’s best sellers, “Rights of Men,” “Age of Reason,” and “Common Sense,” only second to the Bible.

Through “Common Sense,” Paine relays his thoughts of independence to the American people in simple language. “It is now the interest of America to provide for herself. She hath already a large and young family, whom it is more her duty to take care of, than to be granting away her property to support a power who is become a reproach to the names of men and christians, whose office it is to watch the morals of a nation, of whatsoever sect or denomination ye are of, as well as ye who are more immediately the guardians of the public liberty, if ye wish to preserve your native country uncontaminated by European corruption, ye must in secret wish a separation.”

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