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Thomas Paine (1737-1809), Author of 'The Rights of Man'

Sitter in 12 portraits
Radical political writer Thomas Paine emigrated to America in 1774 and published Common Sense (1776), a demand for American independence. Returning to Europe in 1787, and in response to Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, he published his most famous work, The Rights of Man, 1791-2, which advocated the constitutional guarantee of the civil rights of individuals. Paine fled to France and was briefly elected to the French National Convention. Imprisoned for opposing the execution of Louis XVI in 1793, he returned to America in 1802. His promotion of the concept of human rights influenced the American Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.