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Mr. Ulmschneider's Forums > AP Government: Madison, Paine, and Politics
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Paine's Advantage and Effectiveness

posted Dec 16, 2012 19:22:05 by EshwarCheekati
Wood states that Paine is a frequently overlooked man when it comes to being proclaimed as one of the founders of the United States. He was never accepted in society as a gentleman because of his sloppy appearance, his obscure origins, and his years in poverty. He didn't belong belong to any one country and had neither "character nor connection." However, as Wood believes and as I believe as well, this is what made him the influential person that he truly was. His level of disinterestedness and his background are his biggest assets and something the other founders lack. The rage and bitter passion he puts into his writings, the simplistic "language as plain as the alphabet" that he uses, and his "anxiety to serve a public cause in preference to myself(himself)" makes him unique. In our modern political culture, politicians contrast with the way Paine was through their ambiguity in policies. They try to gain the appeal of more people by keeping their stance partial, confusing many citizens. In addition, they explain stuff in very grandiose ways making it hard for the common man to understand. Politicians need to get rid of the ambiguity and try to connect to people the way Paine did in the past.
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2 replies
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emmalarson1 said Dec 16, 2012 20:12:00
I totally agree that politicians should speak as directly as Paine, since it would make it easier for more citizens to choose a stance and vote. However, I don't believe that many figures today are able to voice their opinions as openly, as they have a reputation to maintain. Part of Wood's argument is that Paine was solely and intellectual, meaning he criticized society without actually being a political leader. Since he really didn't have anything on the line, he could be harsher and more passionate than most other public figures. Politicians today are probably more like Jefferson and Adams, taking more moderate stances in public.
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EshwarCheekati said Dec 17, 2012 00:23:44
Great point in pointing out the distinction between Paine and politicians and how they have different roles. I agree that Paine was solely a writer and a literary genius but nothing more. He could come up with the radical ideas and rile people but he could only do that through his writing and not in person. His lack of charisma and reliability is why he would never make a good politician and also the reason why he was expelled from any big governmental roles he received. Although it would be great to have a politicians that have passionate and radical ideas, people do tend to be more moderate on issues so he or she wouldn't gain overwhelming support anyway.
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