• Title: Tom Paine's Iron Bridge: Building a United States
  • Author: Edward G. Gray
  • ISBN: 9780393241785
  • Page: 194
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Tom Paine s Iron Bridge Building a United States In a letter to his wife Abigail John Adams judged the author of Common Sense as having a better hand at pulling down than building Adams s dismissive remark has helped shape the prevailing view of To
    In a letter to his wife Abigail, John Adams judged the author of Common Sense as having a better hand at pulling down than building Adams s dismissive remark has helped shape the prevailing view of Tom Paine ever since But, as Edward G Gray shows in this fresh, illuminating work, Paine was a builder He had a clear vision of success for his adopted country It was embIn a letter to his wife Abigail, John Adams judged the author of Common Sense as having a better hand at pulling down than building Adams s dismissive remark has helped shape the prevailing view of Tom Paine ever since But, as Edward G Gray shows in this fresh, illuminating work, Paine was a builder He had a clear vision of success for his adopted country It was embodied in an architectural project that he spent a decade planning an iron bridge to span the Schuylkill River at Philadelphia.When Paine arrived in Philadelphia from England in 1774, the city was thriving as America s largest port But the seasonal dangers of the rivers dividing the region were becoming an obstacle to the city s continued growth Philadelphia needed a practical connection between the rich grain of Pennsylvania s backcountry farms and its port on the Delaware The iron bridge was Paine s solution.The bridge was part of Paine s answer to the central political challenge of the new nation how to sustain a republic as large and as geographically fragmented as the United States The iron construction was Paine s brilliant response to the age old challenge of bridge technology how to build a structure strong enough to withstand the constant battering of water, ice, and wind.The convergence of political and technological design in Paine s plan was Enlightenment genius And Paine drew other giants of the period as patrons Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and for a time his great ideological opponent, Edmund Burke Paine s dream ultimately was a casualty of the vicious political crosscurrents of revolution and the American penchant for bridges of cheap, plentiful wood But his innovative iron design became the model for bridge construction in Britain as it led the world into the industrial revolution.

    One Reply to “Tom Paine's Iron Bridge: Building a United States”

    1. "I wonder why you never hear about Thomas Paine doing things after the revolution?""Oh. That's why."

    2. I heard the author provide an overview. He failed to talk about the most interesting facts that dealt with Paine's part in the French revolution and his imprisonment by the revolutionary government.

    3. Florida State University historian Edward G. Gray tells a seldom-told story about Tom Paine, the early American revolutionist (who tried to incite a similar revolution in Britain, and later became a citizen of the first French republic and was jailed under Robespierre), author of "Common Sense," "The Rights of Man," the notorious "Age of Reason" that made his name political poison, and other influential writings including the still-timely "Agrarian Justice."Gray gives us a detailed account of th [...]

    4. I liked this little book. I don't know of another that follows Tom Paine as closely through his life. Common Sense had great impact on people's acceptance of the revolution and it was widely circulated through the colonies and in Europe. Paine refused to make any profit from his publications.What I never knew about the man was his interest in developing the infrastructure in his new country, particularly bridge building. He is credited with inventing an iron bridge that could span rivers without [...]

    5. An interesting summary of a tragic, driven life. Paine, though the preeminent voice for the Revolution ("Common Sense"), lost his esteem by vociferously supporting the French Reign of Terror, fomenting revolution in Britain, and denouncing Christianity. He was a masochist who couldn't stop while he was ahead.

    6. Interesting biography of Thomas Paine. Personally, I wished it spent a little more time on his bomb throwing rabble rousing and political treatise rather than his penchant for building and designing bridges but a good short biography nonetheless.

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