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Rights of Man

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,009 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
One of the most influential writers and reformers of his age, Thomas Paine successfully publicized the issues of his time in pamphlets that clearly and persuasively argued for political independence and social reform. Rights of Man, his greatest and most widely read work, is considered a classic statement of faith in democracy and egalitarianism.
The first part of this docu
Paperback, 200 pages
Published May 14th 1999 by Dover Publications (first published 1791)
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Robert Owen
Dec 04, 2013 Robert Owen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In an age of brilliant political writers, Paine, a naturalized American citizen and inspired propagandist for the American Revolutionary cause, represents perhaps the era’s most radical and unfiltered ideological voice. Written in the immediate aftermath of the French Revolution and the somewhat removed aftermath of the American, “The Rights of Man”, published in two parts (1791 and 1792) is one of Thomas Paine’s most influential treatises on the nature and form of just government. In it, Paine ...more
Dannii Elle
Paine’s political manifesto details how governments and hierarchies are, in his opinion, corrupt, as they rely on the power of a few rather than of everyone equally. He devises a plan where the elite few, who often gain power through birth rights, to have their control abolished and a democratic, representative and equal community created in its place, where every person has an equal say and an equal part in the running of the community. Power to all or power to none!

The latter part of this refo
Mohamed al-Jamri
May 11, 2016 Mohamed al-Jamri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
هذا الكتاب هو عبارة عن رد توماس بين على كتاب إدمند بورك الذي انتقد فيه الثورة الفرنسية. من خلال كتاب هتشنز حول توماس بين فقد فهمت السياق الذي صدر فيه هذا الكتاب

نشر هذا الكتاب في دفعتين في العام و وقد تم عرض كاتبه للمحاكمة في بريطانيا حيث وجهت له تهمة التحريض على العصيان وهي حينها تهمة خطيرة جدًا في بريطانيا ويعاقب عليها بالإعدام أو الحبس الموبد. طبعًا في العالم العربي لا تزال هذه التهمة توجه لمن ينتقد الحكومات ويدعو للإصلاح الحقيقي والجذري. لحسن حظ بين فقد تمكن من الهرب من بريطانيا قبل محاكمته
Dec 22, 2012 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2012
Thomas Paine is one of those writers who seemed to have been dropped by a deist God 200 years before the world was really ready for him. His energy, honesty and political bravery was intense. By his voice alone he helped to transform the West. Common Sense, the Rights of Man, and finally the Age of Reason have all thrown the political and social gauntlet down and caused people to either cheer him (Common Sense) or hiss his name (Age of Reason).

The Rights of Man was visionary in its call for int
Sean Chick
Nov 17, 2013 Sean Chick rated it really liked it
Flawed but vastly superior to Burke. Paine relies more upon the argument that man has rights, than any form of historical tradition. Paine was right in that there is no “political Adam” from which all laws derive. People have a right to revolution, because government is a construct of man, not an organic system ordained by god and the dead hand of tradition. Also, the unity of man is an absolute and based upon natural rights, while nobles hold their position through coercion and war. He correctl ...more
Ben Lever
Aug 03, 2012 Ben Lever rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
This books has patches of brilliance buried in amongst many pages of Paine picking a fight with Edmund Burke. This is somewhat typical of "classics" of political theory like this - they were designed only as pamphlets to deal with the issues of the day, and were not meant to be timeless.

While there is indeed timeless wisdom in here, a modern reader must sift through a lot of dirt to get to it - hence the two-star rating
Kate Woods Walker
Apr 15, 2011 Kate Woods Walker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A pleasure to read beginning to end, Rights of Man by Thomas Paine is the third book in a discussion series in which I am currently participating, and for the life of me I can't figure out why this masterpiece of history, philosophy, politics and statecraft was not the lead-off book in the series. Not only does the clear-thinking Paine lay out with understatement and restraint winning arguments against the ridiculous Edmund Burke and his Reflections on the Revolution in France, but in the first ...more
Nandini Goel
Nov 11, 2015 Nandini Goel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Rights of Man by Thomas Paine” is an excellent piece of work where Paine focuses on the flaws and ascendancies of one type of government over the other.
In the first part, Paine discusses about the various rights of man where he says that men are all of one degree and consequently all men are born equal with equal natural right and every child born into the world must be considered as deriving its existence from god.
After that Paine put forwards his inputs by condemning Mr Burke with whose writ
John Doyle
Jul 26, 2015 John Doyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Rights of Man is a political masterwork that lays bare the bankruptcy of governments and political systems that derive their authority from any other source than the People. In his time, Paine was specifically eviscerating monarchies (i.e. 18th century Britain) that established themselves through military conquest and then claimed legitimacy over generations based on biology. By contrast, the revolutions in America and France had established the primacy of the nation (i.e. the People) to def ...more
Aug 03, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in response to Edmund Burke's "Reflections on the French Revolution," Paine obliterates the ideology of monarchical government. I probably should have read Burke's piece first to get a better understanding of Paine's counter-arguments, but this still provides a solid philosophical analysis of the role of government and the origin of sovereignty. He even goes to the length that countries start wars to increase their coffers from taxes, an interesting position I had not considered before. ...more
Toni Daugherty
Jun 10, 2009 Toni Daugherty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm re-reading this book in light of the current administration. I'm confident that Pres. Bush played "hookie" the week his college class read & discussed this book.

everyone interested in politics & mankind should give this a go!
Katie Lynn
Definitely not my favorite of Thomas Paine's works. Second half is better than the first, so stick with it.

"But with respect to religion itself, without regard to names, and as directing itself from the universal family of mankind to the divine object of adoration, it is man bringing to his maker the fruits of his heart; and though these fruits may differ from each other like the fruits of the earth, the grateful tribute of everyone is accepted."

"It is the faculty of the human mind to become wha
While I do not fully agree with Edmund Burke nor do I particularly like ancien regime France, nonetheless, this book largely consisted of 105 pages of ranting. He makes some good points, but I thought his earlier work, Common Sense, was a more cogent, reasonable argument.
Jun 19, 2012 Sidharth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A great polemic on the inherent rights of human beings, and the difference between a nation and government. Besides being a very enlightening little book that clearly explains much of the philosophical basis of the United States, Paine's witty attacks on Edmund Burke's defense of British and French aristocracy make it an entertaining read as well. It is, of course, slightly chilling in retrospect to read Paine's endless praises of the French Revolution, knowing now that in just a few years it wo ...more
So Thomas Paine is a genius. I think I said that about Common Sense, too, but this was really great and full of interesting points, especially about the appointment, service, and payment of politicians; taxes, and caring for the poor and aged--basically, the eighteenth century version of Social Security. As for paying people for government service (in terms of working in Congress, not military service) Paine points out that Washington accepted no salary for his service as President and proposes ...more
Roman Clodia
Tom Paine's Rights of Man, written in two parts (1791 & 1792), was a response to Edmund Burke's criticisms of the French Revolution. It's an optimistic work, looking forward to the ongoing development, both moral and political, of mankind, and the eradication of 'ignorance'. A combination of idealism and something more prosaic, it calls for democratic government by and for the people, for the greater good, one which limits itself to the support and defence of man's natural rights of liberty, ...more
Tadas Talaikis
Apr 25, 2016 Tadas Talaikis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Two hundred years and humanity still has some of similar or same problems. People are irrational, but more importantly - hardwired for self-interest. As a consequence, we always have a conflict between own and someone (or something) else.

Government should drug people with "bread and games" to calm them down. To produce "drugs" for people is to heavily tax those who wish to sleep on more than one bed at night. Those aren't interested in later case and may refrain from achievements whatsoever. We
Oct 31, 2015 Satyasmrti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written as a response to Burke's hate spewing work "reflections on the revolution in France" this remains the go-to piece on how to set up governments and what they should seek to accomplish. Arguing beyond doubt the immediate necessity of the establishment of the republic in France it seeks to firmly establish once and for all that a republic is the only just form of government and monarchies but a charade where often the king is not qualified to even be a constable (his words). While many argu ...more
Mar 01, 2014 Iain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Paine was a prodigious and unrepentant nail in the coffin of the age of kings and queens. Considered the 'Father of the American Revolution" with his pro-independence pamphlet Common Sense and later adopting the name of his revolutionary writing as his pen name, in the American Crisis, sums up his key weapon against monarchical despotism and that was his common sense. In 'The Rights of Man' Paine furthers his loathing of any system that oppresses and enslaves the poor with the majority of ...more
Aug 24, 2015 Nikmartinak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For the rest of my days I'll submit to Thomas Paine being the world's greatest comedian, and "The Rights of Man" proves that in full. This text contains some of the most scathing criticisms of British enlightenment thinkers I've ever read, and the way Paine can drolly intersperse philosophical rambling about the failing economic state of America while lamenting overseas policymakers and making a joke about future generations brings a warmth to my heart.

It makes me sad to see Paine's totally ega
Mar 18, 2015 Dustin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, classics
I probably should have read Burke's "Reflections on the Revolution in France" first because the first half of The Rights of Man is basically one big rebuttal of that piece, but it was still an interesting read.
Jeff Gabriel
Feb 24, 2015 Jeff Gabriel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This unabridged version contained not only the original letter or pamphlet to Washington which served as a direct response to Edmund Burke, but also a couple of different follow on pieces of somewhat lower quality. The response to Burke is brilliant and not only serves as an interesting piece of history at the time of the French Revolution, but as a reminder of principles continuing to drive the American one.

Paine's unfailing belief in the total superiority of the American form of government has
Dec 02, 2015 Ankur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
“But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.”

I am kinda disappointed that i read this book so late in life. Almost all what is considered liberal & correct today has been articulated in this book. And given the times it was written in, its a testimony to the farsightedness of Paine.

the book does sidetrack a bit with Paine's preoccupation with Edmund Burke, but still does a commendable job of laying down the argument for indi
Emil Petersen
This book is two halves - the first half could rightfully be called 'Why Mr. Burke is an idiot' and the second part is the actual content. I dared not give it one star, since the few things I know of history tells me that I actually DO like this book and what it stirred. After settling the beef with Burke, it proposes a reformation of the English state with changes such as lower taxes for the poor and general education. The general topics are the French Revolution, the US and England. It has its ...more
RK Byers
Nov 25, 2010 RK Byers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
perhaps the most amazing thing about this treastie on freedom is that it's dedicated to my favorite slave-owner, George Washington!
Dan Korth
Feb 19, 2016 Dan Korth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading both Common Sense and Rights of Man in the last few months I believe Thomas Paine and I could have been good friends. The logic manifested in Paine's writings along with his well reasoned condemnations of those who use government as a tool to enrich themselves and oppress the masses offer an incredible example of the intellectual foundation that helped form the American system of government. Against this backdrop of wisdom the inane ramblings and emotional tirades that pass for pol ...more
Feb 21, 2011 Delilah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read The Social Contract and Rights of Man one after the other.

As a fierce supporter of the books, not downloads, I will first review the aesthetics of these two books. Both works are quite light considering the heavy content. I bought these first hand, so the covers are smooth, and the pages firm and crisp. I enjoy Wordsworth Classics beige pages, which I find very easy on the eyes, compared to the reflective, stark whites of the computer I look at for 8 hours a day (plus blogging time). I e
Apr 05, 2009 Don rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, politics
Well, good to cross this one of my list of 'great books to read before you die'. Paine's polemical style rankles and there are large sections where he caricatures Burke's arguments to the point of ridicule. Whatever you think of the political tradition he represented, Burke was a great thinker and a worthy opponent of radical, progressive currents.

Paine also suffers from being so wrong in his confident assertions about the benefits that would come from the triumph of rational, representative gov
Apr 02, 2012 Russio rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first 20 pages or so are incendiary - essential reading. And you can stick with Paine all the way through, especially if you are a republican socialist like me. The problem is that I am a 21st Century MTV-generation dude and, as a result, am used to seeing politics communicated in the white noise of soundbites (I wonder what Paine would make of that)? After the first twenty pages my cries of "Right on!" became slowly replaced by mutterings of "Oh yeah, I get it now."

The whole thing is writt
Ronald Wise
One of Paine's most famous publications, which got him tried in absentia in England and sentenced to death. There are some strange aspects to this book: While presenting some very convincing arguments for representative, constitution-based democracy over hereditary monarchies, much of the text is a direct attack on Edmund Burke's prior condemnation of the French Revolution. The last part of the book is strange in that it uses actual tax revenue figures in Great Britain to argue against aristcrac ...more
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  • The Wisdom of the Desert: Sayings from the Desert Fathers of the Fourth Century
  • Reflections on the Revolution in France
  • Two Treatises of Government
  • Areopagitica
  • Thomas Paine's Rights of Man: A Biography
  • Writings: Autobiography/Notes on the State of Virginia/Public & Private Papers/Addresses/Letters
  • The Spirit of the Laws (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • The Basic Political Writings
  • On the Republic/On the Laws
  • Democracy in America
  • The Discourses
  • The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism
  • The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates
  • The Essays
  • On Liberty
  • The Constitution of the United States of America
  • The Open Society and Its Enemies - Volume Two: Hegel and Marx
  • The Condition of the Working Class in England
Thomas Paine was an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called "a corset maker by trade, a journalist ...more
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“Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.” 675 likes
“Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess.” 367 likes
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