Finally! My wife found the missing book tonight, so now I can post some of Thomas Paine's quotes from The Rights Of Man... that is, in between the crippling coughs...
Paine wrote this book largely in response to another work, Reflections On The Revolution In France by Edmund Burke. They are typically published as a single piece. Burke takes an ill view of the Frog's revolution while Paine ardently defends it. My own, very stunted, understanding of the French revolution has left me with the impression that it was a victory of unhalted humanism. It has been a great surprise to find out the details of this and to see it in an entirely new light.
Since this quote is a bit longer, I'll just post this one for the day:
It was not against Louis XVI, but against the despotic principles of the government, that the nation revolted. These principles had not their origin in him, but in the original establishment, many centuries back; and they were become too deeply rooted to be removed, and the Augean stable of parasites and plunderers too abominably filthy to be cleansed, by anything short of a complete and universal revolution.
When it becomes necessary to do a thing, the whole heart and soul should go into the measure, or not attempt it. That crisis was then arrived, and there remained no choice but to act with determined vigor, or not to act at all.
This one stuck out to me because he's basically saying the government was so broken, it was beyond repair and revolution was the only recourse. That gave me pause to consider our own circumstance! Have the parasites and plunderers so infected Washington that it is ill beyond all healing, or is it simply the most daunting task ever faced by our nation?