chapter  1
15 Pages

Introduction: The Power of Human Rights

ByJan Gorecki

“About the year 1774 a certain Thomas Paine arrived in Philadelphia from England with a letter of recommendation from Dr. Franklin,” writes Benjamin Rush in his memoirs. 1 “In one of my visits to Mr. Aitken’s bookstore I met with Mr. Paine, and … perceived with pleasure that he had realized the independence of the American Colonies from Great Britain … I asked him what he thought of writing a pamphlet upon it… . He readily asserted to the proposal, and from time to time … read to me [the emerging chapters]. I recollect being charmed with a sentence in it: … ‘Nothing can be conceived of more absurd than three million of people flocking to the American shore every time a vessel arrives from England, to know what portion of liberty they shall enjoy.’” 2