TOM PAINE AND NEWTON
A young man's theory was right

While in college many years ago, about 1960 as I recall, I had taken courses in phyics and calculus when I enrolled in a American Literature class. Reading "The Age of Reason," I was struck by Paine's (1737 - 1809) use of language in describing the struggle between the force of the King of England and that of the Colonies. This prompted me to write a term paper arguing that Paine and others of our founding fathers had read Newton (Principia Mathematica, 1687) and were greatly influenced by him. I had seen no other source that made this argument. My instructor was very impressed.

This morning as I was preparing the feature on the Founding Fathers, and Tom Paine, I came across a lecture that included the following passage:

"A deist manifesto to the core, Paine acknowledged his debt to Newton and declared that nature was the only form of divine revelation, for God had clearly established a uniform, immutable and eternal order throughout creation."

http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/paine.html

For the first time in more than 40 years, I learned that I was right about Tom Paine and Sir Isaac Newton.

Glenn Spencer - 5/31/04