Henri Malosse, currently President of the European Economic and Social Committee’s Employers’ Group and Corsican in origin, has reminded me in an e-mail of America’s Corsican connection, in the person of Pasquale Paoli (picture). In November 1755, the people of Corsica ratified a constitution that proclaimed Corsica a sovereign nation, independent from the Republic of Genoa. President of the Executive Council of the General Diet of the People of Corsica, Paoli designed and wrote the new state’s Constitution. The first written under Enlightenment principles, its revolutionary innovations included a vote for all men and women over 25 years of age. The Diet also made Paoli, who held his office by election and not by appointment, commander-in-chief of the armed forces as well as chief magistrate. A thorough-going modernist, Paoli immediately set about building a Corsican state, including the creation of schools and a university. All of this took place 21 years before the American Revolution and 34 years before the French! A French invasion put a halt to this pioneering experiment and in 1770 Corsica was incorporated as a French province and Paoli went into exile. The American Sons of Liberty were inspired by Paoli. Ebenezer McIntosh, one of their leaders, named his son Paschal Paoli McIntosh in his honour. In 1768, the editor of the New York Journal described Paoli as “the greatest man on earth”. Places in the United States named after him include: Paoli, Pennsylvania, Paoli, Colorado, Paoli, Indiana, Paoli, Oklahoma and Paoli, Wisconsin.