Rights of Man and Common Sense (Hardcover)
The authorities in power in England during Thomas Paine’s lifetime saw him as an agent provocateur who used his seditious eloquence to support the emancipation of slaves and women, the demands of working people, and the rebels of the French and American Revolutions. History, on the other hand, has come to regard him as the figure who gave political cogency to the liberating ideas of the Enlightenment. His great pamphlets, Rights of Man and Common Sense, are now recognized for what they are–classic arguments in defense of the individual’s right to assert his or her freedom in the face of tyranny.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
About the Author
English-born Thomas Paine left behind hearth and home for adventures on the high seas at nineteen. Upon returning to shore, he became a tax officer, and it was this job that inspired him to write The Case of the Officers of Excise in 1772. Paine then immigrated to Philadelphia, and in 1776 he published Common Sense, a defense of American independence from England. After returning to Europe, Paine wrote his famous Rights of Man as a response to criticism of the French Revolution. He was subsequently labeled as an outlaw, leading him to flee to France where he joined the National Convention. However, in 1793 Paine was imprisoned, and during this time he wrote the first part of The Age of Reason, an anti-church text which would go on to be his most famous work. After his release, Paine returned to America where he passed away in 1809.
H. G. Wells (1866?1946) was a professional writer and journalist who published more than a hundred books. He is widely considered the father of science fiction.
Gillian Beer is president of the British Comparative Literature Association.
Michael Foot is a former leader of the Labour Party in England and the author of numerous volumes of literary criticism.
Simon J. James is a lecturer in Victorian literature at the University of Durham.
John S. Partington is the editor of "The Wellsian," the annual journal of the H. G. Wells Society.
“[Thomas Paine] accepted [no] definitions or frontiers, claiming to be the first of a new breed necessary to save mankind and womankind: a citizen of the world . . . Well beyond his own lifetime it was the power of his pen that restored his vision of the world as it might be . . . America made Thomas Paine–and he helped to make America.” –from the Introduction by Michael Foot