Rights of Man was written by Thomas Paine in 1791 as a reply to Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke. It has been interpreted as a work defending the French Revolution, but it is also a seminal work embodying the ideas of liberty and human equality.
Many of the ideas in The Rights of Man are derived from the concepts of the Age of Enlightenment. John Locke's Second Treatise of Government particularly influenced Paine who ascribes the origins of rights to nature. Paine emphasizes that rights cannot be granted by any charter because this would legally imply they can also be revoked and under such circumstances they would be reduced to privileges.
"The fact therefore must be that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist. (Quote from wikipedia.org)
About the Author
Thomas Paine (1737 - 1809)
Thomas Paine... was a pamphleteer, revolutionary, radical, liberal and intellectual. Born in Great Britain, he lived in America, having migrated to the American colonies just in time to take part in the American Revolution, mainly as the author of the powerful, widely read pamphlet, Common Sense (1776), advocating independence for the American Colonies from the Kingdom of Great Britain and of The American Crisis, supporting the Revolution.
Later, Paine was a great influence on the French Revolution. He wrote the Rights of Man (1791) as a guide to the ideas of the Enlightenment. Despite an inability to speak French, he was elected to the French National Assembly in 1792. Regarded as an ally of the Girondis