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Rights of Man Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 36 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Rights of Man.
This section contains 766 words
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Themes

Reason vs. Ignorance

'Reason' is the watchword of the Enlightenment, in which Thomas Paine is a major figure. Enlightenment intellectuals tended to see themselves as the defenders of pure reason against superstition and of science and liberty against ignorance. Thomas Paine is not exception. The primary distinction, the ultimate distinction he wants to draw between the old governments and the new between post-revolutionary American and France on the one hand and England and the other monarchies of the world on the other, is the distinction between reason and ignorance.

For Paine, ignorance is the heart of the old system, or ancient regime, as it came to be known. This system of social order included a powerful, hereditary monarch, disproportionate political representation of a historically entrenched landed aristocracy and a powerful established church. It subsisted on class hierarchy and often on feudal and later mercantilist forms of economic organization. The...

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This section contains 766 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Rights of Man Study Guide
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Rights of Man from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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