Thomas Paine vs. Edmund Burke

Topics: Thomas Paine, French Revolution, Age of Enlightenment Pages: 3 (855 words) Published: March 17, 2013
Two men, both fighting for the same cause during the American Revolution took different sides in the French Revolution because of their political views. Thomas Paine took the side of the French, opposing his own country, because he believed in a system where people can govern themselves. Edmund Burke took the side of the English because he was supporting his country and believed in a system where there needs to be a higher power to keep people in their place. Thomas Paine was a radical in the way he thought and believed in a total reform of the way people were living at that time. Burke was a Conservative and believed that things were fine just the way they were. Paine also believed in Thomas Jefferson’s statement all men are born equal and people should be able to make something of themselves. Burke believed that there should be a strict class system in which people could not move between one another. Although these men have two completely different political views, they both have positions that are well respected by society today.

The first contrasting point between Paine and Burke’s political views is that Paine believed in a system where people can govern themselves and Burke believed that there still needed to be a higher power to tell people what to do. Paine thought that people should be able to tax themselves, therefore saying that people can fend for themselves. He did not think that all the power should rest in a center government. He thought maybe there could be a central government so things did not get out of hand, but it would not have much executive power. His encounters with the indigenous peoples of the Americas made a deep impression. The ability of the Iroquois to live in harmony with nature while achieving a democratic decision making process, helped him refine his thinking on how to organize society. On the other hand, Burke still believed in a monarchy system. He thought that there needed to be a king and a queen to rule over the nation....
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