Thomas Paine's Rights of Man

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
8
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Christopher Hitchens, the #1 New York Times best-selling author of God Is Not Great has been called a Tom Paine for our times, and in this addition to the Books that Changed the World Series, he vividly introduces Paine and his Declaration of the Rights of Man, the world’s foremost defense of democracy. Inspired by his outrage at Edmund Burke’s attack on the French Revolution, Paine’s text is a passionate defense of man’s inalienable rights, and the key to his reputation. Ever since the day of publication in 1791, Declaration of the Rights of Man has been celebrated, criticized, maligned, suppressed, and co-opted, but in Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man, Hitchens marvels at its forethought and revels in its contentiousness. Famous as a polemicist and provocative commentator, Hitchens is a political descendent of the great pamphleteer. In this engaging work he demonstrates how Thomas Paine’s book forms the philosophical cornerstone of the United States of America, and how “in a time when both rights and reason are under attack, the life and writing of Thomas Paine will always be part of the arsenal on which we shall need to depend.”
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Additional Information

Publisher
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Published on
Sep 16, 2008
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781555849276
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / History & Theory
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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`An army of principles will penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot . . . it will march on the horizon of the world and it will conquer.' Thomas Paine was the first international revolutionary. His Common Sense (1776) was the most widely read pamphlet of the American Revolution; his Rights of Man (1791-2) was the most famous defence of the French Revolution and sent out a clarion call for revolution throughout the world. He paid the price for his principles: he was outlawed in Britain, narrowly escaped execution in France, and was villified as an atheist and a Jacobin on his return to America. Paine loathed the unnatural inequalities fostered by the hereditary and monarchical systems. He believed that government must be by and for the people and must limit itself to the protection of their natural rights. But he was not a libertarian: from a commitment to natural rights he generated one of the first blueprints for a welfare state, combining a liberal order of civil rights with egalitarian constraints. This collection brings together Paine's most powerful political writings from the American and French revolutions in the first fully annotated edition of these works. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range 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, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
In this unique biography of Thomas Jefferson, leading journalist and social critic Christopher Hitchens offers a startlingly new and provocative interpretation of our Founding Father. Situating Jefferson within the context of America's evolution and tracing his legacy over the past two hundred years, Hitchens brings the character of Jefferson to life as a man of his time and also as a symbolic figure beyond it.

Conflicted by power, Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and acted as Minister to France yet yearned for a quieter career in the Virginia legislature. Predicting that slavery would shape the future of America's development, this professed proponent of emancipation elided the issue in the Declaration and continued to own human property. An eloquent writer, he was an awkward public speaker; a reluctant candidate, he left an indelible presidential legacy.

Jefferson's statesmanship enabled him to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase with France, doubling the size of the nation, and he authorized the Lewis and Clark expedition, opening up the American frontier for exploration and settlement. Hitchens also analyzes Jefferson's handling of the Barbary War, a lesser-known chapter of his political career, when his attempt to end the kidnapping and bribery of Americans by the Barbary states, and the subsequent war with Tripoli, led to the building of the U.S. navy and the fortification of America's reputation regarding national defense.

In the background of this sophisticated analysis is a large historical drama: the fledgling nation's struggle for independence, formed in the crucible of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, and, in its shadow, the deformation of that struggle in the excesses of the French Revolution. This artful portrait of a formative figure and a turbulent era poses a challenge to anyone interested in American history -- or in the ambiguities of human nature.

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