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Rights of Man, Common Sense, and Other Political Writings (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

by Thomas Paine, Mark Philp
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1, 2009 019953800X 978-0199538003 New Ed. /
Thomas Paine was the first international revolutionary. His Common Sense (1776) was the most widely read pamphlet of the American Revolution--and his Rights of Man (1791-2), the most famous defense of the French Revolution, sent out a clarion call for revolution throughout the world. Paine paid the price for his principles: he was outlawed in Britain, narrowly escaped execution in France, and was vilified as an atheist and a Jacobin on his return to America.
This new edition contains the complete texts of both Rights of Man and Common Sense, as well as six other powerfully political writings--American Crisis I, American Crisis XIII, Agrarian Justice, Letter to Jefferson, Letter Addressed to the Addressers on the Late Proclamation, and Dissertation on the First Principles of Government--all of which illustrate why Paine's ideas still resonate in the modern welfare states of today.

About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Rights of Man, Common Sense, and Other Political Writings (Oxford World's Classics) + Reflections on the Revolution in France (Oxford World's Classics)
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Editorial Reviews


'OUP's excellent series continues with a collection from the Christopher Hitchens de ses jours.' Guardian

About the Author

Author of Paine in Past Masters, Mark Philp is Fellow and Tutor in Politics at Oriel College, Oxford.

Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; New Ed. / edition (January 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019953800X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199538003
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Paine, the unsung hero of our country. October 12, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was not taught anything in school about this great man. He was very much ahead of his time on slavery, poverty, all the rights of mankind.

Read his writings and appreciate a true patriot.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Radical Democrat April 12, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thomas Paine is a radical democrat in the sense of someone who supports universal suffrage, the equality of all people, the leveling out of special privilege, the well-being of all people in a nation, fair and progressive taxation, lowering of taxes, the health of business and the economy, the preservation of natural and civic rights, and the assertion that the sovereignty and authority of government arises from the people. He not only supports these values but he also argues quantitatively as well as politically how they can be achieved simultaneously. Such positions are "radical" because they are opposed by many of those who rule so-called democratic governments, a fact as true today as it was in the Eighteenth Century. Most democratic governments are in need of reform because, as Paine puts it, "The man who is in the receipt of a million a year is the last person to promote a spirit of reform, in the event, it should reach to himself." (p. 257) Then as now most governments are run by millionaires. But Paine could diagnose what a good government would look like: "When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend; because I am the friend of its happiness: when these things can be said, then may that country boast its constitution and its government." (p. 317) And his argument in "Rights of Man" was that England could not so boast. He hoped that America (and France) by contrast could and would continue to do so. But Paine was opposed and ridiculed by more than one of our "founding fathers", including John Adams. Read more ›
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read April 9, 2013
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This is a must read for all Americans. There is some thing in here for all of us, very common sense.
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21 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good collection but the texts are rambly. January 9, 2004
By Frikle
This volume contains all of the principal works of the great mind of Thomas Paine. Although technically not one of the Founding Fathers of the US, his thoughts on liberty and the purpose of government have influenced the world. He lived in a time when democracy was in its infancy and so much of his views are particular to the newly formed governments of the US and France. But still an interesting insight into politics. He can generally be considered a libertarian.
The most famous works in the volume are Common Sense, Rights of Man and the Letter to the Addressers of the Late Proclamation. The texts are sufficiently annotated and there's a chronology of his life. If politics are your thing and you want to read about the forming of America, this is your book - it shows Paine's politics at their finest.
One word of warning - this isn't an easy read. Paine is often wordy and rambly. Often his texts have account ledgers - which is understandable for the time they were written but today break the flow of the work. The writing is dense and his points could have been made in half the number of pages. If this doesn't deter you, you'll find an inspiring read about the rights and responsibilities of people and government towards each other.
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