British-born American political activist Thomas Paine wrote Rights of Man in 1791 in response to Reflections on the Revolution in France, Edmund Burke's attack on the French Revolution. Burke was wary of tearing down old institutions of government. But Paine argued that revolution is acceptable - in fact, necessary - when government ignores the rights of its people. Not surprisingly, Rights of Man proved very popular in the newly liberated United States, selling over 100,000 copies.
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