Originally published in 1791 as a reply to Edmund Burke's Reflections on the French Revolution, as a vindication of the French Revolution, and as a critique of the British system of government, Rights of Man is unquestionably one of the great classics on the subject of democracy. Paine created a language of modern politics that brought important issues to the common man and the working classes. Employing direct, vehement prose, Paine defended popular rights, national independence, revolutionary war, and economic growth - all of which were considered, at the time, to be dangerous and even seditious issues. Paine's vast influence was due, in large measure to his eloquent literary style, noted for its poignant metaphors, vigor, and rational directness. With Rights of Man, Paine defended the dignity of men in all countries against all those who considered the average person to be merely one of the "swinish multitude." In the United States it fostered sympathy for France, while in Britain, it circulated among republican clubs and became a classic document in the working-class movement.
(P)1990 by Blackstone Audiobooks
"I know not whether any man in the world has had more influence on its inhabitants or affairs for the last thirty years than Tom Paine." (John Adams, 1805)
It's an interesting book - written not long after the ratification of the American constitution. It is as much history as it is political philosophy. It praises the republic as a form of government and denounces monarchy. The first part is largely a slanted discussion praising the French Revolution. The second part is largely a criticism of the English government. Unfortunately this recording skips in quite a few places and it runs a little slow in others.
Fascinating insight on how the accepted wisdom of governance during the 1700's was being challenged by this upstart democratic America. An excellent critique of monarch’s hereditary claim on governing, Rights of Man is unquestionably one of the classics on the subject of democracy. Unfolds in a logical, orderly argument but gets bogged down in the end with endless data on taxes.
The horrible fidelity of this audio completely negates its historical importance. It is impossible to listen to while commuting by car. It is evident it was first recorded cassette and is over 20 years old. (At one point the audio said "please turn over cassette now.") The audio is filled with hiss and sounds like the reader was in another room. The clarity varies from overdubbing. I wonder if they turned "play" on the cassette player set it next to a microphone used it to make a digital recording. Audible should be embarrassed by something of such shabby quality. I feel entitled to a refund. Don't gamble buy something else instead.
I highly recommend the book, and the Bernard Mayes' performance is pretty excellent, but the recording quality is a bit distracting at times.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
It is past time for Americans to re-read Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man”. Though his primary purpose is to refute Edmund Burke’s condemnation of the 1789 French revolution, his observations on British Aristocracy are the essence of today’s American “Money-ocracy”.
The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are an amorphous scream of disgust by an educated population that resents American “Money-ocracy’s” control of the economy, elected representatives, the election system, and the “Rights of Man”. “Money-ocracy” is an inheritable line of an American aristocracy.
Stockholders in American companies need to fight employee compensation inflation that is disconnected from human productivity. Entrepreneurs that create productive enterprises should be rewarded by as much money, power, and prestige as their contribution warrants but not by ridiculous salaries that make a mockery of human productivity.
“Occupy Wall Street” is an unlikely precursor of another American Revolution; however, it may be a symptom of an American cancer that debilitates productive life without killing the patient. “Occupying Wall Street” is not a hippie “sit in” but a plea for reform of American “Money-cracy” just as Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man” was a plea for reform of Aristocratic inheritance.
Perfect. This is a True American Hero that was mostly forgotten because he was 200 years ahead of his time. One of the very few men that stand out in history and deserve nothing less than to be called "Great"
"In times of taxation"
The books splits in two quite distinct parts. Firstly Paine makes a direct response to Edmund Burke (1729-1797)'s comments on the French Revolution - and this adds greatly to an understanding of the events and antecedents of this great turning point in European history. Secondly, the British Constitution - or lack of it - is dissected, again with lots of side swipes at Burke. This may seem a long way off and of very little interest today...however, anyone wishing to understand the current state and pre-occupations of American politics will find this book invaluable, as will any Republican or indeed anyone who is currently suffering the high cost of fuel and petrol and wondering where all the tax pounds are going. Time for a Paine-ful renaissance surely.
A fascinating aside is the story of Wat Tyler as conveyed in the later part of this book - somone we have all heard about from O level history, but whose story takes on particular significance in the modern context. Overall, well recommended.
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