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Prints - People at Work

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The Rights of Man; - or - Tommy Paine, the little American Taylor, taking the measure of the crown, for a new pair of Revolution-breeches

18th century
43.6 cm x 29.1 cm (17 3/16 in. x 11 7/16 in.)

James Gillray (London, 1757 - 1815, London) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Europe, English
Medium and Support: Etching with hand-coloring
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Anonymous gift, 2010
Accession Number: 2010.73

The Rights of Man, a pamphlet written by English-American Thomas Paine, criticizes European monarchies and social institutions and argues that people have a right to a revolt if their basic needs are not met under the current government. Ironically, he urged the revolutionaries to spare the life of Louis XVI and exile him to the newly formed United States, where the French king was admired and recognized for his support of the American Revolution. In the print, Paine says that the crown is too large for a tailor to measure. Gillray pokes fun at Paine’s blue-collar origins and reveals that he does not have the kind of upbringing to understand the importance of a constitutional monarchy.

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