Rights of Man
A major actor in the American Revolution, English intellectual Thomas Paine (1737-1809) is remembered especially for his pamphlet Common Sense (1776; also reissued in this series), which advocates America's independence from Great Britain. An immediate best-seller, it sold over 100,000 copies in three months. Paine was a dedicated reformer who also lent his support to the French Revolution. First published in 1791, this book was sparked by the publication of Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), a direct condemnation of the French uprising; and the fourth edition of this remarkable contribution to political philosophy is reissued here. In a passionate rebuttal of Burke's position, Paine argues that revolution is legitimate against a government that fails to protect its people and their essential rights. Extremely influential in its own day, this book develops a critique of authoritarian governments that remains relevant today.