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Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen  


Like the American Declaration, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is a stirring statement of Enlightenment principles concerning both the individual’s role in the state ... More

Federalist NO. 10 (The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection)  

James Madison

James Madison (1751–1836) was one of Virginia’s leading patriots during the Revolutionary War, was elected fourth president of United States, and led the nation during the War of 1812 with ... More

The General HIstory of New Spain  

Bernardino de Sahagún

The document included here contains descriptions of the monumental and agonizing events of the Spanish conquest of Mexico from the Aztec perspective. It was compiled at the behest and under ... More

Reflections on the Revolution in France  

Edmund Burke

Born in Dublin to a Protestant father and a Catholic mother, Edmund Burke (1729–1797) struggled to build a political career in Georgian England. Having established a reputation for ... More

Rights of Man  

Thomas Paine

As a young man in England, Thomas Paine worked a series of low-paying, menial jobs, from most of which he was quickly fired, being perceived as an uncooperative “troublemaker.” In 1774, at ... More

“Torture,” from the Philosophical Dictionary  


Voltaire (the pen name of François-Marie Arouet) epitomized the Enlightenment. His Dictionnaire philosophique (Philosophical Dictionary), the first edition of which appeared in 1764, ... More