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The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine

Download The Rights of Man as PDF

by Thomas Paine

Rights of Man is the 1791 tract by Thomas Paine which states that a revolution of the people is permissible when a government does not protect them, nor defend their natural rights and national interests. Human rights, he argued, come from nature and not from a government (nor the monarchy, the church, or the military), because such an institution can thereby takeaway such rights.

Though his pamphlet Common Sense would help to spark the American Revolution, Rights of Man is considered his greatest work. Paine wrote the Rights of Man as a response to Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (which he loathed). If Paine was alive and blogging today this would have been a serious flaming. Characteristic of Paine, this work is written in plain, simple (yet very passionate) language that any man on the street would have understood and appreciated. Read it along with Common Sense to get a full sense of a revolutionary character.

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