The liberal cosmopolitanism of thomas paine
Journal of Politics
Cambridge University Press (CUP)
This paper offers an interpretation of Thomas Paine’s unduly neglected political theory, focusing in particular on his account of international relations. I argue that in addition to the cosmopolitanism prominent in his thought, there is also a clear commitment to national sovereignty. This commitment presents a real tension between the universalistic rights of individuals and the particularistic rights of nations. I argue that this tension is resolved by viewing national sovereignty as conditional on the adoption of a liberal constitution and then consider the implications of this resolution for Paine’s theory of international relations, specifically whether it contains an account of liberal intervention and a commitment to global justice.
Vol. 76, Issue 3, pp. 636 - 648