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Rights of Man

From Academic Kids

Thomas Paine wrote the Rights of Man in 1791 as a reply to Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke, and as such, it is a work glorifying the French Revolution.

Paine's Declaration of the Rights of Man can be approached from his most telling points:

  1. Men are born, and always continue, free and equal in respect of their rights. Civil distinctions, therefore, can be founded only on public utility.
  2. The end of all political associations is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man; and these rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance of oppression.
  3. The nation is essentially the source of all sovereignty; nor can any individual, or any body of men, be entitled to any authority which is not expressly derived from it.

These three points are similar to the "self-evident truths" expressed in the United States Declaration of Independence.

In line with his views on individual human rights, when the French called for the execution of the monarch Paine suggested that the monarch be exiled to America, where he would then have to work for a living. This suggestion was ignored.

See also

Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen - a fundamental document of the French Revolution, adopted in 1789

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