Thomas Paine was born in 1737 in England and died in 1809 in New York. He was what we call now an intellectual activist of the 18th century and he took part in all the great revolutions of his age. He influenced the American Revolution with his book “common sense” published in 1776 in which he denounces the English administration in the thirteen colonies. Three years after, he published “the rights of man” ( in 1791) to answer to Edmund Burke an Irish Philosopher who commented the French revolution in his philosophical work “reflections on the revolution in France” in 1790.
For a better understanding we need to talk about Edmund Burke’s Reflection and more generally: is way of thinking. Despite the fact that Burke was a philosopher of the 18th century he didn’t agreed with the age of reason created by his compeers. Burke was more attached by old beliefs like prejudice. That’s why for burke the revolution in France is doomed. He believes in prejudice to guide (control) the people through the following ages. For him prejudices allow the nation to react quickly to an emergency situation and are the only way to avoid tyranny.
Thomas Paine sees the French Revolution differently that’s why he wrote this pamphlet as an answer to Edmund Burke. The text in our booklet is an extract of his answer entitled “The Rights of Man”. This extract is divided into two parts:
-In the first one, he sums up Edmund Burke’s point of view and arguments by quoting few lines of the philosopher reflection he published in 1990. And the second part he exposes his own point of view. He explains that every country and every man should have the right (or at least the choice) to decide of their fates.
-The French revolution: started in 1789 and it was a bloody revolution. The people armed themselves and attack the king’s army. The French king Louis XVI was executed in 1993.
-The English parliament of 1688: it was the parliament during the glorious revolution