Paine’s best-known works are Common Sense (1776) and The Rights of Man (parts I and II, 1791 and 1792) — the first being part of his written contribution to the American Revolution, and the second his defence of the French Revolution in face of Edmund Burke’s stringent attack. But Paine did more than write: shortly after publishing Common Sense he was appointed aide-de-camp to General Green and took a position with Congress after the Declaration of Independence; and while awaiting trial for sedition in 1792 (brought by the British government in respect of the second part of The Rights of Man) Paine left England in order to take up a seat in the revolutionary Convention in France. As he wrote to George Washington, ‘A share in two revolutions is living to some purpose’ (16 Oct 1789).
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