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Rights of Man, Common Sense, and Other…

Rights of Man, Common Sense, and Other Political Writings

by Thomas Paine

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sun-shine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country: but he that stands it now, deserves the thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered: yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."

Rousing words like these would not be heard today even on the loudest of cable news talk shows. Yet, here we are in one of a set of letters to Americans - from this Englishman - reading a call to action. It is said that George Washington had this read to his troops.

If you read his writings today, you may want to delete any evidence on your smartphone. Was he a libertarian? He wanted the smallest government. Was he a conservative? He wanted change and he wanted it now. Was he a socialist? an internationalist?

Yes, he apparently had a significant ego (maybe he just read his own writings at times) and his nationalist loyalties were a bit scattered through his life, but boy, he could arouse his readers.

So where does this sort of life get you? A few months in a French jail; six people at your funeral and your own remains get lost.

Even more than his politics (he really aimed his calls to people across nations), he wanted a base income - a kind of minimum wage - voting even for those not owning property (this was just too much for John Adams) and, hang on, he railed against all organized religions. He claimed to believe in one God but went after the Bible held tightly to the bosoms of those around him.

So who wants to write about this guy? Not many. Mark Philp is a reluctant scholar who seems to have drawn a short straw for this Oxford University Press edition of their Very Interesting People series.

The late Christopher Hitchens champions Paine. However, you can hear crickets when Paine's name comes up from many others.

Maybe it is time to read again his rousing writings and try to find the man.

Oh, and a hearty Happy Birthday to Thomas Paine, wherever his weary bones may be. ( )
1 vote Forthwith | Dec 22, 2015 |
One of the premier writers during the revolutionary crisis. Paine's Common Sense alone is worth buying this volume, but to have a collection of his other writings as well is a great bonus. ( )
1 vote ulfhjorr | Jan 7, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Paineprimary authorall editionscalculated
Philp, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192835572, Paperback)

Thomas Paine was the first international revolutionary. His Common Sense (1776) was the most widely read pamphlet of the American Revolution--and his Rights of Man (1791-2), the most famous defense of the French Revolution, sent out a clarion call for revolution throughout the world. Paine paid the price for his principles: he was outlawed in Britain, narrowly escaped execution in France, and was vilified as an atheist and a Jacobin on his return to America.
This new edition contains the complete texts of both Rights of Man and Common Sense, as well as six other powerfully political writings--American Crisis I, American Crisis XIII, Agrarian Justice, Letter to Jefferson, Letter Addressed to the Addressers on the Late Proclamation, and Dissertation on the First Principles of Government--all of which illustrate why Paine's ideas still resonate in the modern welfare states of today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:59 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Thomas Paine was the first international revolutionary. His Common Sense was the most widely read pamphlet of the American Revolution, while his Rights of Man sent out a clarion call for revolution throughout the world. This collection brings together Paine's most powerful political writings in the first fully annotated edition of these works. - ;�An army of principles will penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot . . . it will march on the horizon of the world and it will conquer.'. Thomas Paine was the first international revolutionary. His Common Sense (1776) was the most widely read pamp.… (more)

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