Philadelphia: Printed by R. Folwell, for Benjamin Franklin Bache, .
First American edition. 32pp. 8vo. First American Edition of Paine's Proposal for a National Fund, a Forerunner of Today's Social Security Administration. Disbound ESTC W31709; Evans 32630; Gimbel-Yale 112; Howes P21. Item #335054
On the title-page, Paine states plainly the objectives of his National Fund: "To Pay every Person, when arrived at the Age of Twenty-One Years, the Sum of Fifteen Pounds Sterling, to enable Him or Her to begin the World! "And Also, Ten Pounds Sterling per Annum during life to every Person now living of the Age of Fifty Years, and to all other when they shall arrive at that Age, to enable them to live in Old Age without Wretchedness, and go decently out in the World." His scheme, a forerunner to social security, proposed to tax land owners once per generation to pay for the needs of those who had no land. Underpinning his work is the argument that poverty is nothing by a social construct which exists only in civilized society and the necessity of a "republic with a new idea of 'moral economy.'"
First issued in Paris, 1797, with text in French; the first edition in English was published in London in the same year.
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