Jusitification for the French Revolution Jusitification for the French Revolution Thomas Paines Rights of Man opposes the ridiculous conservative standpoint that Edmund Burke took towards the French Revolution. Paine supported natural rights, and understood that democratic institutions must be implemented in order to guarantee those rights. Paine applied a combination of logic and common sense to discredit Burkes opinion, thereby proving the legitimacy of the revolution. Burke understood a constitution to be an inherited system, believing that as property is passed from father to son, man must also transmit political privileges and the power of government. However, Paine argued that no description of man has the right to such power, and that every generation must be free to act for itself.
He believed that ” the vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies.” Paine argued that the traditions and polices inherited from father to son, aspects that Burke valued, must be disposed, and that the circumstances and opinions of the world are continually changing. Governments are for the living, not for the dead, and therefore he reasonably concluded that only the living has the right to control their political system. Burke opposed the rights of man and supported the privileges of the aristocracy, one of the main causes of the French Revolution. While most European revolutions have been excited by personal hatred, the revolution in France was generated by the rational contemplation of the rights of man, and “distinguishing from the beginning between persons and principles.” Burke does not contemplate the important position of principles in government; he instead focuses on the rights of the men serving the government. Thus, most of his opinion towards the occasions of the French Revolution are disqualified.The revolution was mainly concerned with the unjust polices of French politics, and did not represent a personal vendetta against the men in charge of the French government.
Paine wrote that ” [the French people] did not enter into society to become worse than [they were] before, nor to have fewer rights than [they had] before, but to have those rights better secured.” He protested that the National Assembly was the means for the people of France, without noble fathers, to be delegates of the nation. At the same time, he understood that the authority of the National Assembly would be different from the authority of future assemblies.