Upon publication in 1791-92, the two parts of Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man proved to be both immensely popular and highly controversial. An immediate bestseller, it not only defended the French revolution but also challenged current laws, customs, and government.
The Routledge Guidebook to Paine’s Rights of Man provides the first comprehensive and fully contextualized introduction to this foundational text in the history of modern political thought, addressing its central themes, reception, and influence. The Guidebook examines:
- the history of rights, populism, representative governments, and challenges to monarchy from the 12th through 18th century;
- Paine’s arguments against monarchies, mixed governments, war, and state-church establishments;
- Paine’s views on constitutions;
- Paine’s proposals regarding suffrage, inequality, poverty, and public welfare;
- Paine’s revolution in rhetoric and style;
- the critical reception upon publication and influence through the centuries, as well as Paine’s relevance today.
The Routledge Guidebook to Paine’s Rights of Man is essential reading for students of eighteenth-century American and British history, politics and philosophy, and anyone approaching Paine’s work for the first time.
Table of Contents
1. Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man Part 1, sections I-VIII
2. Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man Part 2, Preface-Chapter 3
3. Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man Part 2, Chapter 4
4. Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man Part 2, Chapter 5
Frances A. Chiu teaches history and literature at the New School in New York, USA. She is a graduate of Smith College (A.B.), Northwestern University (M.A.), and Oxford University (Ph.D.).