No closer to the Age of Reason?

While doing some research on Thomas Paine, I came across this political cartoon from 1819. Most of it is self-explanatory except the men standing on their head with the Red Cap of Liberty on one of their feet. Couldn’t help but react immediately thinking that most of that was exactly the opposite of what he stood for, and that if the artist had his way, it’d be Paine on the cross/burning at the stake. Of course I also saw the parallels for today; at the very least it’s representation of how many people still think of him, or the evils of deism and libertarianism, that is if a government school teacher slipped through the cracks and actually mentioned him.

I don’t know how familiar you are with the history, PT, so sorry if this is teaching you to suck eggs, but the idea of a “world turned upside down” was a familiar trope in English conservatism, which first came into its own during the Civil War in reaction to the radical Leveller and Digger movements. A basic cartoon appeared on the frontispiece of a contemporary pamphlet:

From what I know, Paine’s backing for the early phase of the French Revolution (for which the Red Caps of Liberty are the obvious symbol, I’m sure you’ll agree) was seen by British reactionaries of the time to place him squarely in this Radical tradition. The dialectical relationship of Paine’s contemporary work with Edmund Burke’s own observations is essential to this, it seems to me (and is always how I have taught it, when I have had the occasion).

The image link didn’t work?

I got the upside-down part, just wondering who the ones on their heads were (the Bourgeoisie)?

The cartoon was post-French Revolution by 25 years (hell Napoleon was all but history), and Paine was long dead after having pleaded for the king’s life and narrowly escaping the guillotine himself, so why pick on him? Must have still had considerable influence at that time. Of course, how can we talk, we still haven’t gotten Moses or Jesus (or Robin Hood) right after all these years and we’ve got a lot more to work with on him.

Yes, it’s not working for me either now.
I got it from here.

As for the guys standing on their heads in your pic, I think from their attire they are Sans-culottes (radicals).
As for the context, well Radicalism was beginning to assert itself in English political culture at about this time - coming to a head at Peterloo in August of 1819. Perhaps the illustrator saw echoes of sans-culottism in the events of that year in Britain.

The early 19th century was full of counter-revolutionary fervor on both sides of the Atlantic. Upper class aristocrats and lower class products of the Great Awakening found much to dislike about the revolutionary enlightenment types like Paine. Note the racial caricatures the lower left hand corner laughing derisively at the destruction of Christendom.

Felix, well spotted. The jews have copped some ongoing shit have they not. Little wonder that they practice exclusivity in their dealings with non jews, therby entrenching their singularity.

The aristocrats were counter-revolutionary (and always had been) and the peasant-class were counter Renaissance/Age of Reason. That’s pretty much been turned “Topsy Turvey” since then.

The Renaissance/Age of Reason was carried on almost exclusively by the educated upper class (education not being so much a mixed bag at that time if you could stay away from the divinities); thus enabling an updated version of Jesus’ class warfare to be carried to the less critically minded by the “Christian” clergy.

Yes I had noticed them. No bias or prejudice there. It should also be noted that Paine condemned any form of divine revelation unless it was directed to the whole world [universe] at once in a universal language.