Common Sense examines how Americans defended the right to resist unjust laws, and how this right of resistance was transformed into a right of revolution. It examines Thomas Paine's views on the difference between society and government, his defense of republican government, his total rejection of hereditary monarchy, and his belief that Americans should take up arms against the English government.
"Not Common Sense"
Communist Manifesto examines the theory and goals expounded by Karl Marx. Marx argues that history flows inevitably toward a social revolution, which will result in a society without economic classes. The influence on Marx of Hegel, Feuerbach, and other philosophers is examined, as is his friendship and collaboration with Engels.
Reflections on the Revolution in France is a slashing attack on the French Revolution by one of Britain’s most famous statesmen. Liberty and social order, Burke argues, are maintained by the traditional rights and duties embedded in custom and law. And when these traditions are overthrown in revolutions, society is threatened with chaos, bloodshed and despotism.
"Reflecting on Reflections"
In On Liberty, John Stuart Mill advocated individual liberty based on a philosophical concept called utilitarianism, or "the greatest happiness for the greater number". This intellectual tradition rejects natural rights, such as those in Jefferson's Declaration of Independence. Despite beginning with a different theoretical foundation than natural rights proponents, Mill reaches a similar conclusion, that diversity in individual thought and action ultimately benefits society.