One of the great classics on democracy, Rights of Man was published in England in 1791 as a vindication of the French Revolution and a critique of the British system of government. In direct, forceful prose, Paine defends popular rights, national independence, revolutionary war, and economic growth - all considered dangerous and even seditious issues.
To George Washington,
President of the United States of America
Sir, I present you a small Treatise in defence of those Principles of Freedom which your exemplary Virtue hath so eminently contributed to establish. - That the Rights of Man may become as universal as your Benevolence can wish, and that you may enjoy the Happiness of seeing the New World regenerate the Old, is the Prayer of
Your much obliged, and
Obedient humble servant,
Thomas "Tom" Paine (February 9, 1737 – June 8, 1809) was an author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He has been called "a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination."
Born in Thetford, in the English county of Norfolk, Paine emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 in time to participate in the American Revolution. His principal contributions were the powerful, widely read pamphlet Common Sense (1776), advocating colonial America's independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and The American Crisis (1776–1783), a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series.