Thursday March 26, 2009 5:30 — 7:00 p.m.
The Architect and the State: Tom Paine’s Iron Bridge, from Common Sense to Rights of Man
Edward Gray, Florida State University
This paper explores the significance of Tom Paine’s bridge-building activities and attempts to connect those activities to the larger arc of Paine’ thought. The paper argues that the bridge reflects a little recognized aspect of Paine’s radicalism: an abiding interest in the commercial infrastructure of the state. Paine is generally thought of as one of the American Revolution’s most radical proponents. But his quest to build a single-arched iron bridge, the paper argues, is indicative of a prominent strain in his thinking that places him closer to commercial system builders such as Adam Smith and Thomas Jefferson than most scholars have recognized.
All papers are pre-circulated electronically to those who plan to attend the seminar in person. For a copy of the paper,e-mail Heather Radke at email@example.com,or call (312) 255-3524.
The Newberry Library Seminar in Early American History and Culture is co-sponsored by the History Departments of DePaul University, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture at the University of Chicago
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