The right to posterity


In Thomas Paine's Common Sense he writes:

To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary succession; and as the first is a degradation and lessening of ourselves, so the second, claimed as a matter of right, is an insult and imposition on posterity. For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever, and tho' himself might deserve some decent degree of honours of his contemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them. One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in Kings, is that nature disapproves it, otherwise she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule, by giving mankind an Ass for a Lion

Secondly, as no man at first could possess any other public honors than were bestowed upon him, so the givers of those honors could have no power to give away the right of posterity. ...

What exactly does Paine mean by "the right of posterity?"


Posted 2014-02-20T20:58:13.960

Reputation: 103



That the person who holds the right also gets to pass the right down to his children as a piece of property. This is how, for instance, coats of arms and peerages in the british system work. (Although it is only the oldest legitimate son that can inherit such rights, not all of the children).


Posted 2014-02-20T20:58:13.960