Rights of Man
By Thomas Paine
About the BookWritten in 1791 and 1792 this two-part declaration, Rights of Man>, was in response to Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France.
Part One argued for political independence and social reform. This seminal work on freedom and equality, written by Thomas Paine, one of the most influential writers and reformers of his age, is considered to be a classic statement of faith in democracy and egalitarianism and is Paine’s most widely read work. He argues that civil liberties are not privileges granted by governments but arise naturally and belong to the people. Any government failing to protect the natural rights of its citizens should be opposed by political revolution.
Defending the early events of the French Revolution, it was dedicated to George Washington, speaking on behalf of democracy, equality and a new European order. Part Two, which came out the following year, supported social security for workers, public employment for those needing work, abolition of laws limiting wages, and other social reforms.
Rights of Man,> written in accessible and simple language, was a sensation in the United States, and was supported by many who agreed with Paine's defense of republican government. In Britain it was labeled by Parliament as highly seditious, causing the government to suppress it and prosecute the British-born Paine for treason.
Over 200 years later, this much-read book remains an inspiring, rational work on individual liberties and workers’ rights that is a must-read for all who value democracy and personal freedom