Author(s): Christopher Hitchens
An enlightening and beautifully written introduction to the making, and message, of a book that was central to the foundation of the United States. My country is the world and my religion is to do good.' Thomas Paine, writing in Declaration of the Rights of Man (1791) Thomas Paine is one of the greatest political propagandists in history. Declaration of the Rights of Man, first published in 1791, is the key to his reputation. Inspired by his outrage at Edmund Burke's attack on the uprising of the French people, Paine's text is a passionate defence of man's basic and irrefutable rights. In Rights of Man Paine argued against monarchy and outlined the elements of a successful republic, including public education, pensions and relief of the poor and unemployed, all financed by income tax. Since its publication, Rights of Man has been celebrated, criticised, maligned and suppressed but here the polemicist and commentator Christopher Hitchens, Paine's natural heir, marvels at its forethought and revels in its contentiousness. Above all, Hitchens demonstrates how Thomas Paine's Rights of Man forms the philosophical cornerstone of the greatest republic in the history of the world: the United States of America.