It's true that Paine's writing, starting from the first pamphlet Common Sense, was some of the most influential work that appeared in the revolutionary time period in the colonies. His way of using language that "could be understood even by the unlearned," was the key in his widespread success, and subsequently, Paine was able to just spur those who were already in favor of a revolution. Like Wood said, he really didn't say anything revolutionary himself, but rather just made that final and necessary push by writing for the masses. I think that as a result of a lack of his own innovative thoughts, it's difficult to view Paine as anything more than an instrument in the revolution. As a writer, he was the pathway to gathering the support, but he, by himself, was hardly on the level of a Founding Father. Sure, he was influential, but as Wood noted, Paine could not even put on the mask of a gentleman and he didn't play a pivotal role in any of the conferences that were so central to the founding of the nation. Additionally, how can anyone consider Paine to be the a Founding Father when he was overseas for such a long period? Of course other highly-regarded men of that time, like Franklin and Jefferson, made their trips to Britain and France, but they were there only on the account of the politics of the colonies, unlike Paine. If it had gotten to the point where Paine himself stated that his attachment was, "to the world, and not to any particular part," I'm quite certain there shouldn't be a question as to why when we broach the subject of our Founding Fathers and those whom made this nation what it is today Paine isn't thought of very often.
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