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  • Published: 1 July 2003
  • ISBN: 9780451528896
  • Imprint: Signet
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416

Common Sense, the Rights of Man and Other Essential Writings of ThomasPaine



A volume of Thomas Paine's most essential works, showcasing one of American history's most eloquent proponents of democracy.

Upon publication, Thomas Paine’s modest pamphlet Common Sense shocked and spurred the foundling American colonies of 1776 to action. It demanded freedom from Britain—when even the most fervent patriots were only advocating tax reform. Paine’s daring prose paved the way for the Declaration of Independence and, consequently, the Revolutionary War. For “without the pen of Paine,” as John Adams said, “the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.”

Later, his impassioned defense of the French Revolution, Rights of Man, caused a worldwide sensation. Napoleon, for one, claimed to have slept with a copy under his pillow, recommending that “a statue of gold should be erected to [Paine] in every city in the universe.”

Here in one volume, these two complete works are joined with selections from Pain's other major essays, “The Crisis,” “The Age of Reason,” and “Agrarian Justice.”

Includes a Foreword by Jack Fruchtman Jr.
and an Introduction by Sidney Hook

  • Published: 1 July 2003
  • ISBN: 9780451528896
  • Imprint: Signet
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416

About the author

Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, England, in 1737, the son of a staymaker. He had little schooling and worked at a number of jobs, including tax collector, a position he lost for agitating for an increase in excisemen's pay. Persuaded by Benjamin Franklin, he emigrated to America in 1774. In 1776 he began his American Crisis series of thirteen pamphlets, and also published the incalculably influential Common Sense, which established Paine not only as a truly revolutionary thinker, but as the American Revolution's fiercest political theorist. In 1787 Paine returned to Europe, where he became involved in revolutionary politics.

In England his books were burned by the public hangman. Escaping to France, Paine took part in drafting the French constitution and voted against the king's execution. He was imprisoned for a year and narrowly missed execution himself. In 1802 he returned to America and lived in New York State, poor, ill and largely despised for his extremism and so-called atheism (he was in fact a deist). Thomas Paine died in 1809. His body was exhumed by William Cobbett, and the remains were taken to England for a memorial burial. Unfortunately, the remains were subsequently lost.

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Praise for Common Sense, the Rights of Man and Other Essential Writings of ThomasPaine

“Without...Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.”—John Adams

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