Front Page Titles (by Subject) VII.: THE SOCIETY FOR POLITICAL INQUIRIES. 1. - The Writings of Thomas Paine, Vol. II (1779-1792)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
VII.: THE SOCIETY FOR POLITICAL INQUIRIES. 1. - Thomas Paine, The Writings of Thomas Paine, Vol. II (1779-1792) 
The Writings of Thomas Paine, Collected and Edited by Moncure Daniel Conway (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1894). Vol. 2.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
THE SOCIETY FOR POLITICAL INQUIRIES.1.
The moral character and happiness of mankind are so interwoven with the operations of government, and the progress of the arts and sciences is so dependent on the nature of our political institutions, that it is essential to the advancement of civilized society to give ample discussion to these topics.
But important as these inquiries are to all, to the inhabitants of these republics they are objects of peculiar magnitude and necessity. Accustomed to look up to those nations, from whom we have derived our origin, for our laws, our opinions, and our manners, we have retained with undistinguishing reverence their errors with their improvements; have blended with our public institutions the policy of dissimilar countries; and have grafted on an infant commonwealth the manners of ancient and corrupted monarchies. In having effected a separate government, we have as yet effected but a partial independence. The revolution can only be said to be complete, when we shall have freed ourselves, no less from the influence of foreign prejudices than from the fetters of foreign power. When breaking through the bounds, in which a dependent people have been accustomed to think and act, we shall probably comprehend the character we have assumed and adopt those maxims of policy, which are suited to our new situation. While objects of subordinate importance have employed the associated labours of learned and ingenious men, the arduous and complicated science of government has been generally left to the care of practical politicians, or the speculations of individual theorists. From a desire of supplying this deficiency, and of promoting the welfare of our country, it is now proposed to establish a society for mutual improvement in the knowledge of government, and for the advancement of political science.
With these views, the subscribers associate themselves under the title of The Society for Political Inquiries, and under the following laws and regulations.
laws and regulations.
[1.]Unpublished “Rules and Regulations of the Society for Political Inquiries, established at Philadelphia, 9th Feb. 1787.” This Society met at Dr. Franklin's house, where Paine read a paper, described by William Rawle as “a well-written dissertation on the inexpediency of incorporating towns.” The paper was no doubt used in “Rights of Man,” ii., ch. 5. Several passages in the same work suggest Paine's probable authorship of the above Preamble.—Editor.