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« Thank You! | Main | Correspondence and Ownership Information »

Front Page » Pamphleteering

Pamphleteering

"I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense . . ." Thomas Paine, 1776, pamphleteer
Thomas PaineThomas Paine was a pamphleteer over 230 years ago. If he were alive today, he would not be a glam television anchor. He would not aspire to be a loud-talking or abrasive political pundit on a cable news channel. No, if Thomas Paine could be among us, he would be one of us. Thomas Paine would most assuredly be a blogger.
"That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of Nations, is as shocking as it is true; but when those who are concerned in the government of a country make it their study to sow discord, and cultivate prejudices among Nations, it becomes the more unpardonable." Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

Thomas Paine's Common SenseWeblogs, like this one, are bringing about a real revival of citizen pamphleteering. Thomas Paine blazed the first trail with "Common Sense", first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, before the American Revolution. It was pivotal in growing popular support for independence from Britain. Even Thomas Jefferson took ideas from his pamphlet when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. Tremendously popular, as many as 600,000 copies of "Common Sense" were distributed among 3,000,000 people (one for every five people). That would be equivalent to 60,000,000 copies printed in present day America.

Before telecommunications, ordinary citizens with access to printing presses and some paper could use pamphlets for mass communications. Communicating this way was especially helpful since ordinary people couldn't operate from within the power structures of main stream newspapers or books.

The 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights was written, in part, to protect the liberties of everyday pamphleteers and assure their rights to free speech and freedom of their printing presses.

Is the "press" still the voice of the people? In the intervening years, between Paine's time and ours, "freedom of the press" seems to have lost its root in history and its intended meaning. To many, "freedom of the press" is now synonymous with "freedom of the powerful media and the well-connected". With a sort of elitist status, the "press" often seems to be mostly comprised of brigades of professionals possessing certain journalism degrees or specific credentials. And with large corporations and advertising budgets controlling the agendas of most television, radio, and newspaper outlets, citizens do question whether modern media still operates in the spirit of Paine's pamphleteering and the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. Citizens should always have access to free presses for the health of democracy.

So, here, taking our inspiration from Thomas Paine and his pamphleteering, and providing our own similar boldness and simplicity, this website seeks to provide opportunities for everyday citizens to speak freely with one another about things that truly matter.

"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph." Thomas Paine, 1776
For more thoughts on freedom of information, you might be interested in the blog posting here: Give Me the Freedom to Know, to Utter, and to Argue Freely.


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