Woods argues that despite his great influence on the revolutionary America, Paine has often been overlooked as a founder. He believes that this is due in large part to the fact that in "the vertically organized and patronage-dominated social world of the eighteenth century", Paine "lacked connections". While this put him at a disadvantage in the sense that he was "never fully accepted as a gentleman", it also worked to his advantage, giving him a unique personal perspective. More so than other thinkers of his time, he was a "man without a home, without a country, truly a citizen of the world." His modest upbringing allowed him, through his writing, to "represent the indignation of ordinary people" and "reach people with a simple common style". These attributes are the reason behind both his work's popularity with the public and his exclusion from the circle of the founding fathers. I agree with Woods that he was an important figure of the revolution whose influence has been underrepresented. Even if he was "not an original thinker", his ability to "put into readable form what others had conceived of" was clearly important to common people's understanding of and support for the revolution. In this way, he functioned sort of like an eighteenth-century linkage institution. In addition to this function, the ideas he laid out in The Rights of Man, shared by founders like Jefferson, form the basis for many basic principles of American government and political culture.
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