Tom Paine is celebrated for the part he played in both the American and French Revolutions. Though an Englishman by birth, he reacted violently against the political order of eighteenth-century England and in favour of radical reform. So well thought of was he outside Great Britain that he became a distinguished public figure in both France and the United States. RIGHTS OF MAN and COMMON SENSE are the two short books in which he elaborates his political and social theories in vivid, simple prose which can still be read with pleasure and excitement today. These are among the foundling texts of the radical tradition in America and Western Europe.