Robert Burns was a radical, subversive political dissident throughout his life. His poems push against oppression, injustice and the treatment of the poor. Becoming the flavour of the time of the Edinburgh bourgeoisie he redoubled his efforts to change the social landscape of Scotland through his prose, art and opinions. This put him at odds with the powers that be, and his risked his freedom to shout for the common man.
He sympathised with the republican ideals of the American Revolution of 1776, as well as the French Revolution of 1789, although his own government declared war on both republics.