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The End of Enlightenment by Richard Whatmore review – a warning from 18th-century Britain

In a study with chilling modern resonance, the history don contends that the age of reason was betrayed by the greed, corruption and barbarism of Britain’s ruling elite

Britain, thought Thomas Paine, needed to be destroyed. Its monarchy must be toppled, its empire broken up and the mercantile system that propped up this debt-ridden, monstrous pariah state abolished.

Only then could a better version – call it Britain 2.0 – arise.

But how?

In the 1790s, the revolutionary thinker and author of the bestselling Rights of Man was a member of the National Convention in Paris and advised republicans to invade. Later, Paine presented a…

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