Rights of Man

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A political treatise by T. Paine in two parts (1791, 1792).

Pt I is in the main a reply to Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France. Paine accuses Burke of seeking theatrical effects at the expense of truth, and of disorderly arguments. He denies that one generation can bind another as regards the form of government. He traces the incidents of the French Revolution up to the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Man by the National Assembly. He alleges that Burke cares only for the forms of chivalry, and not for the nation. ‘He pities the plumage, and forgets the dying bird.’ In Pt II Paine passes to a comparison of the new French and American constitutions with those of British institutions, to the disadvantage of the latter. The work also contains Paine's farsighted proposals for reform of taxation, family allowances, maternity grants, etc.

Subjects: Literature.

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Thomas Paine (1737—1809) author and revolutionary

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