The Tragedy of Tom Paine with Dr. Richard Bell

The Tragedy of Tom Paine with Dr. Richard Bell


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

When Tom Paine, the author of Common Sense, died in June 1809 only a dozen people came to his funeral. This seminar examines Paine’s meteoric rise to celebrity status during the American Revolution and his equally dramatic fall from grace in the decades afterward.

Tom Paine’s burial service was held in Westchester County near the 250-acre farm gifted to Paine by the people of the state of New York in gratitude for his role in stirring the American Revolution. The site of Paine’s funeral wasn’t hard to find or difficult to travel to, yet still, not a single political leader attended.

Dr. Richard Bell examines Paine’s unparalleled ascendance to fame during the American Revolution and his equally sizeable fall from grace in the years following. He illuminates the humble origins of this impoverished immigrant corset-maker and unpacks his extraordinary gifts for political argument. He explains why Paine’s Common Sense (1776) sold so many copies, and why so many people have since credited that little 46-page pamphlet with catalyzing a mass movement focused keenly on the cause of independence.

Bell also explores the surprisingly bitter backlash Paine experienced when he later published the Rights of Man (his 1791 manifesto in support of the social and political extremism of the French Revolution) and the Age of Reason (his 1794 defense of deism, reason, and free thought). Once lionized as our most relatable and revolutionary founding father, Bell argues, Tom Paine died a pariah, too radical and uncompromising for the cautious new country he had called into being.

Dr. Richard Bell is Professor of History at the University of Maryland. He holds a PhD from Harvard University and has won more than a dozen teaching awards, including the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship and the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar Award. Professor Bell is author of the new book "Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home," which was shortlisted for the George Washington Prize and the Harriet Tubman Prize.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 10 reviews
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K
K.S. (London, GB)

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M
M.C.C. (Franklin, US)
The Tragedy of Tom Paine

Excellent. Which is what I have come to expect of Dr. Bell. Informative without drowning me with an overabundance of facts. And entertaining on top of it all.

C
C.B. (Huntington, US)
Excellent, as always.

Richard Bell is one of our favorite historians. We've learned a lot from the many online lectures we've attended.

E
E.K. (Park City, US)
Richard Bell is the best!

I have taken a number of Richard Bell's seminars and highly recommend them. He's an excellent communicator who clearly enjoys teaching. His breadth of knowledge, wit and storytelling always leave me with new insights. In this seminar, he brought Tom Paine to life and made a convincing argument that Paine is an underappreciated Founding Father.

P
Pascal Ansell (Lisbon, PT)
Outstanding run-through of a fascinating life

This seminar more than delivered. I got to know the great life and times of this improbably figure, someone who (as a Brit) is continually intriguing the more I discover about him. I loved Richard's presentation style and rapport with the (clearly devoted!) audience. Thanks for this presentation, it was a real blast!

Customer Reviews

Based on 10 reviews
100%
(10)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
K
K.S. (London, GB)

Guest did not leave comment

M
M.C.C. (Franklin, US)
The Tragedy of Tom Paine

Excellent. Which is what I have come to expect of Dr. Bell. Informative without drowning me with an overabundance of facts. And entertaining on top of it all.

C
C.B. (Huntington, US)
Excellent, as always.

Richard Bell is one of our favorite historians. We've learned a lot from the many online lectures we've attended.

E
E.K. (Park City, US)
Richard Bell is the best!

I have taken a number of Richard Bell's seminars and highly recommend them. He's an excellent communicator who clearly enjoys teaching. His breadth of knowledge, wit and storytelling always leave me with new insights. In this seminar, he brought Tom Paine to life and made a convincing argument that Paine is an underappreciated Founding Father.

P
Pascal Ansell (Lisbon, PT)
Outstanding run-through of a fascinating life

This seminar more than delivered. I got to know the great life and times of this improbably figure, someone who (as a Brit) is continually intriguing the more I discover about him. I loved Richard's presentation style and rapport with the (clearly devoted!) audience. Thanks for this presentation, it was a real blast!