The Perfectability of Human Nature

Eric Foner

“In general, however, Paine took an extremely optimistic view of human nature, or at least of the possibility of human perfectability. He had faith in the ability of men to act according to dictates of reason instead of passion and narrow self-interest.. Paine’s belief that “man, were he not corrupted by governments, is naturally the friend of man, and that human nature is not of itself vicious.”

P. 91 Tom Paine and Revolutionary America