Comparison of Radicalism

Subject: Political
Type: Compare and Contrast Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 1051


Radicalism refers to the beliefs and viewpoints of the people, who support and promote completed social or political reforms. Therefore, the paper focuses on the vision of the founding fathers and Thomas Paine on radicalism.

Thesis Statement. The aim of the paper is to highlight the political views of radicalism by Thomas Paine in comparison with Madison, who is one of the founding members of radicalism. 


America was born on the basis of three revolutionary notions out of which the most important idea was the determination for obtaining liberty. The founders understood the concept of autonomy clearly (Magnet, “The Vision of the Founding Fathers”). 

Thomas Paine believed that there were two types of property, which included natural property and acquired or artificial property. In this context, the natural aspect included possessions that directly came from the universe such as land, air and water. On the other hand, the artificial property included invention done by human beings. The viewpoint of Thomas Paine states that every individual has legal birthrights and men did not create earth. In addition, Thomas Paine also stated that society, where people live can be termed as a blessing to them. On the other hand, government even in its best state of affairs is considered as a necessary evil and in the worst state is intolerable (Paine iii). Therefore, James Madison believed that the faction was one of the threats to the government of the US. In addition, faction referred to a group of individuals, who were driven by the common urge of passion and interests with respect to privileges of the other people (Sheehan 3-4).

Thomas Paine was also known as the father of the American Revolution due to his monograph pamphlet ‘Common Sense’ in the period of 1776 before the independence. It endorsed independence of people from Great Britain in the Thirteen Colonies. Paine did not express his true and original ideas in the pamphlet Common Sense but rather focused on implementing rhetoric as a method to stimulate resentment (PediaPress 93-94). Conversely, James Madison is better known as the father of the American Constitution. The drafting of American Constitution was significantly influenced by James Madison (Sheldon, “The Political Philosophy of James Madison”). No individual was prepared more than Madison in Federal Convention in the year 1797, while no other delegate contributed in the formation of the US Constitution. He believed that the republican government was established based on the awareness of people of America and was considered as the ‘sacred fire of liberty’. In addition, Madison also believed that the American founding fathers discovered the ways for freeing popular government from its failures in the past and comprehended that the growth depends on the self-government (Sheehan, “James Madison: Father of the Constitution”).

Thomas Paine’s political views inferred that man can incorporate the good fellow being within the society to participate in politics by proper utilization of their conscience. The society rises due to the fact that men need each other’s support to succeed. For a society to be happy, the people living in it must rightfully express their principles. In the views of Paine, human rights that were self-evident including freedom of conscience are often considered as the base for equality. The right to trade was viewed as a factor that helped in changing the mindset and forming relationship between the government and the men. The viewpoint of Paine regarding the self-governing community is summarized as ‘the ideal civilization’ , which reflects “The more perfect civilization is, the less occasion has it for government, because the more does it regulate its own affairs and govern it” (Bisheff, “The Moral and Political Thought of Thomas Paine”). Thomas Paine believed that the government should not be glorified and is only required as a contingent for solving issues such as vices. In addition, the government should also focus on restoring harmony and social justice (Bisheff, “The Moral and Political Thought of Thomas Paine”).
James Madison in 1780s was an enthusiastic nationalist, who was afraid of ferocious tyrannical majority and focused on controlling the central government. On the other hand, James Madison in 1790s was viewed as strict constructionist along with being the co-founder of the rights with respect to Democratic-Republican, who mostly feared the US national government. In addition, Madison also feared the monarchial inclination and trusted majorities within the state. With respect to 1780s, Madison observed that the popular majorities were the reason for the problem in the states and later in 1790s, he observed that people were the solutions to the problems (Womersely, “Womersely, Liberty and American Experience in the Eighteenth Century [2006]).

On the other hand, in the present context, the political viewpoints of the Thomas Paine still remains challenging and fresh even after two centuries. The distinction between the government and society can help in evaluating the profitability with respect to the identification of dominance of the civil society as per political order (Wilentz, “The Air Around Tom Paine”)

No other document in the USA has a global influence more than the Declaration of Independence. It is often regarded as the birth certificate of the USA. It is evident that final paragraph in the Declaration of Independence announced that the USA can form alliance and conduct open business. Thomas Paine in his pamphlet Common Sense warned that “the custom of all courts is against us, and will be so, until by an independence, we take rank with other nations.” (Armitage, “The Declaration of Independence in Global Perspective”). Thomas Paine took his talent of journalism to foreign lands such as France and England, which inspired freedom of thought along with democratic governments and religion (Connecticut (CT) Sons of the American Revolution, “Thomas Paine’s Influence on the American Revolution”).

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James Madison in the year 1793-1796 inspired revolutions abroad by significantly condemning the US administration for being neutral between France and Britain. In addition, he even attacked the government for monarchial rights of the executives with respect to neutrality in the year 1793. Furthermore, in the year 1794, James Madison introduced his commercial weapons in the House of Representatives. Correspondingly, the decisions were made on the basis of report present by Jefferson, one of the founders of radicalism concept, who favored France against Britain. James Madison also was more sympathetic towards France (The American Revolution, “James Madison”). 

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  1. Armitage, David. The Declaration of Independence in global perspective. History Now. 2017. Web. 11 Apr. 2017. 
  2. Bisheff, Maurice. The moral and political thought of Thomas Paine. Articles. 2006. Web. 11 Apr. 2017. 
  3. Connecticut (CT) Sons of the American Revolution. Thomas Paine’s Influence on the American Revolution. 2010. Web. 17Apr. 2017.
  4. Magnet, Myron. The vision of the founding fathers. National Review. 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2017. 
  5. Paine, Thomas. “Agrarian Justice.” Digital Edition 1999 (2007): iii. Print. 
  6. PediaPress. Information Theory. United States of America: PediaPress, 2007. Print.
  7. Sheehan, Colleen. “James Madison: Father of the Constitution.” First Principles 8 (2013): 3-4. Print.
  8. Sheehan, Colleen. James Madison: Father of the Constitution. Report Political Process. 2015. Web. 11 Apr. 2017. 
  9. Sheldon, Garrett Ward. The Political Philosophy of James Madison. Johns Hopkins University Press. 2016. Web. 11 Apr. 2017. 
  10. The American Revolution. James Madison. n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2017. 
  11. Wilentz, S. The Air around Tom Paine. New Republic. 2017. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.
  12. Womersely, David. David Womersely, Liberty and American Experience in the Eighteenth Century [2006]. Home. 2017. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.
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