Originally published in two parts in 1791 and 1792, “The Rights of Man” is Thomas Paine’s defense of the French Revolution in response to Edmund Burke’s criticism in “Reflections on the Revolution in France.” A classic work of The Age of Enlightenment, “The Rights of Man” contends that reason should be the foundation of authority and government. Paine argues that any government that fails to protect the natural rights of its citizens should be opposed by political revolution. In accessible and simple language, Paine argues for the profoundly influential, and at that time, radical idea that civil liberties are not privileges granted by governments but arise naturally and belong to the people. Only governments that safeguard these rights are legitimate and should be allowed to exist. Those governments, such as the despotic French monarchy, that fail to do so must be overthrown. This brilliant and persuasive work is a spirited defense of representative government, written constitutions, and social reforms that benefit the working class. Over 200 years later, “The Rights of Man” remains an inspiring treatise on individual liberties and workers’ rights that is a must-read for all who value democracy and personal freedom. This edition includes a biographical afterword.