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Thomas Paine shocked the eighteenth-century world with a political philosophy that rejected the principle of hereditary succession. Through demanding abolition of the birth right of monarchs and nobles to rule, he challenged the basis upon which constitutions had normally functioned. The outcome was to advocate a novel system of egalitarian republicanism which found acceptance in America and France but why not in Britain?’


Drawing on a close examination of Paine’s life, writings and legacy, Thomas Paine and the Polity of the Blood offers a fascinating and original characterisation of Paine’s republicanism. Rather than being flexibly capable of accepting hereditary monarchy, the study argues that from 1775 Paine rejected the idea completely.

The study also presents in a new light the provenance of Paine’s political radicalism. Rather than deriving from the political elitism of the Whig tradition, his republicanism is seen as inspired by the political egalitarianism of the radical enlightenment. The study again breaks new ground by regarding the opposition to Paineite attempts to transform Britain into a republic as articulated not just by conservatives but also by the majority of radicals.

And, as a bonus, Bush unearths new evidence on the strange disinterment, and eventual disappearance, of Paine’s remains. The result is an intriguing detective story and a testament to the changing fortunes of Paine’s posthumous reputation in his native land. In these four respects the book offers a new and plausible explanation of why Paineite republicanism failed to transform the British constitution.

Thomas Paine and the Polity of the Blood

SKU: ISBN9780956967060
  • Thomas Paine and the Polity of the Blood

    ISBN 9780956967060

    Published May 2023 by Mot Juste

    Size: 160 x 230mm

    262 pages, including extensive bibliographical references and an index

    Soft cover

    Price: £25 including shipping

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