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All of Paine's masterpieces are included here: The Rights of Man, a magnificent defence of the French Revolution against Edmund Burke and, according to A.J.P. Taylor, "the best statement of the democratic belief in any language"; Common Sense, whose "sound doctrine and unanswerable reasoning" won thousands to the side of the American rebels; and The Age of Reason, a notoriously fierce attack on traditional Christianity. Paine's extraordinary versatility and power are equally obvious in his shorter but deeply influential occasional writings - on the abolition of slavery and capital punishment, on constitutional and agarian reform, on George Washington, bridge-building and many more other topics.
This major collection demonstrates the extent to which Thomas Paine was an inspiration to the Americans in their struggle for independence, a passionate supporter of the French Revolution and perhaps the outstanding English radical writer of his age. It contains all of Paine's major works including Rights of Man, his groundbreaking defence of the revolutionary cause in France; Common Sense, which won thousands over to the side of the American rebels; and the first part of The Age of Reason, a ferocious attack on Christianity. The shorter pieceson capital punishment, social reform and the abolition of slaveryalso confirm the great versatility and power of this master of democratic prose.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Thomas Paine (1737-1802) was born at Thetford, Norfolk in England, as a son of a Quaker. He immigrated to America in 1774. There he published works criticising the slavery and supporting American independence. He became very popular but returned to England where he became involved in the French Revolution. After that he returned to America, where he died.
Isaac Kramnick is a professor of Government at Cornell University and has edited of The Federalist Papers and The Thomas Paine Reader.