First published in two parts in March 1791 and February 1792, Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man posits that popular political revolution is permissible when a government does not safeguard the natural rights of its people. Radical in his philosophy, Paine believed that government must be by and for the people and must limit itself to the protection of their natural rights. But Paine was no 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 new digital edition of The Rights of Man includes Parts 1 and 2 and all 31 articles from Paine’s original publication. There is also an image gallery.