Thomas PaineThomas Paine, (1737-1809) US Founding father, pamphleteer, author

Famous Thomas Paine Quote

“The trade of governing has always been monopolized by the most ignorant and the most rascally individuals of mankind.”

Thomas PaineThomas Paine
~ Thomas Paine


Ratings and Comments

Me Again
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Me Again    11/2/06

Thomas Paine has some really good quotes.I believe this is one of them.In regards to this quote,I would say it's 99.9% true.

Logan, Memphis, TN

As my father said many times, "Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out".

David L Rosenthal

If this were true, then the best policy should be to hang the winners of each election.

E Archer, NYC

If it weren't true, there would be no need of government -- or government limits.

Mike, Mount Holly, NC

We get the government that we want. We like flash and dazzle, so we elect the most dynamic, best looking and best talkers. If we had the most honest and most intelligent person in the world on the ballot, but he looked like a goober, there's no way he would get elected. We choose form over substance every day.

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EGL, LA    11/2/06

I like that he uses the word "trade" to describe the profession. It puts them in the used car salesmen category. Even given the disillusionment I have with the leaders that be, I do not disparage all who lead to fall into the category Paine describes.

Mike, Norwalk

:-) I'm with Logan's father and David (-:

Joe, Rochester, MI

Ignorant, they are not. Will Mike, Norwalk kill the first government official? Not likely since they surround themselves with mercenaries so you can't get near them, and ban arms they feel could reach out and touch them.

Mike, Norwalk

Joe, it was a joke, stated merely to invoke a smile. I would only use deadly force, as it pertains to another human, in that instant I perceived the life of a family member, innocent party, or I were in immediate peril with NO other alternative(s) existing at that moment. Deadly force by any executive enforcement agency (military, police, etc.) should also be reserved for a first strike defense and declared war. 'Ignorant' did not refer to their IQs, but rather their knowledge and/or acceptance of true liberty.

Jack, Green, OH

You are correct this time, Mike. It should be obvious that Paine was making a sarcastic joke ..much as we do by calling our leaders those idiots in Washington. It was the same tone employed by Kerry when he said, keep up your grades or get stuck in Iraq. A rational person would know what he meant and should be able to see what Paine meant as well. Words were Paine's only real success, outside of a few patented inventions like an iron bridge and a steam engine. He had been a failure at everything he tried in England before emigrating to the colonies where he joined the Continental army against the British. He knew how to use words, writing numerous papers and pamphlets, having a huge influence on American independence. It was this knack that was a significant contributor to the Declaration of Independence. I give the quote five stars on his sarcasm

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

No, they are not by any means ignorant... too many are just power hungry &/or completely self-centered... or perhaps even mad (e.g. King George).

Anonymous, Australia

Anonymous, Reston, VA US, is an ignorant moron, Hitler killed millions of jews because he believed they were an inferior race of humanity, which they aren't because judaism is religion and being jewish doesnt mean your that different from everyone else

John, Sartell, MN, USA

Thomas Paine was right on the money with this quote. What did Lord Action say, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
I look at it this way: Power attracts the corrupt, and the more absolute the power, the greater the corruption it reveals. Power seduces the weak man and flatters him into exercising his baser instincts.

Anonymous, Australia is both right and wrong about the Jews, they are both a race, with specific genetic diseases, Tay-Sacs Syndrome and certain early breast cancers, and a religion.

Because the midevil Catholic Church considered interest to be Usury, they gave the Jews a defacto monopoly on money lending. Because Jews were forbidden to farm they became urban merchants and artisans.
Gradually the Jews became the preeminent schoolars and bankers, readily identified as Jews by distinctive surnames, and envy lead to persecution. Hitler needed scapegoats for the two decades of economic hard times Germany suffered after WWI, and the Jews were the easy target.

Bruski, Naples FL

Words of wisdom.

Ronw13, Oregon

War is Never pretty, Liberty is a Responsibility. " The Strong man with the dagger is followed by the weak man with the sponge" Lord Acton's quote herein is a biblical reference to the " left handed man with the dagger." Truth is never a joking matter.



Thomas Paine

This is a fake quote.

Editor, Liberty Quotes
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Editor, Liberty Quotes Thomas Paine 7/15/21

The quote is unsourced but popularly attributed to Paine in hundreds, if not thousands of publications.

A similar quote can be found in The Rights of Man, Part 2, chapter 2 (emphasis added):

The trade of courts is beginning to be understood, and the affectation of mystery, with all the artificial sorcery by which they imposed upon mankind, is on the decline. It has received its death-wound; and though it may linger, it will expire. Government ought to be as much open to improvement as anything which appertains to man, instead of which it has been monopolised from age to age, by the most ignorant and vicious of the human race. Need we any other proof of their wretched management, than the excess of debts and taxes with which every nation groans, and the quarrels into which they have precipitated the world?


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