Thomas Paine is very underrated in his contributions to America's political and governmental development. It's sad to say that his own contemporaries dismissed much of his ideals and even let them slip away after his death. Woods is correct in that the "Age of Paine" is certainly not at the forefront of U.S. History and barely exists when compared to the Jeffersonian Era and other founding fathers. In my opinion, each political/social era receives radical ideas differently than the previous or next era. Paine's ideas of the eighteenth century were "actually more radical than Marx's", yet Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto stirred up a lot of controversy during the nineteenth century and would go on to influence Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao. I believe that the real reason Paine's ideals were dismissed is because America was simply not ready for his "enlightened international vision." This cyclic pattern is all too common in American history. For example, it has happened with the supposedly radical visions of Malcolm X. Both of these men had visionaries that were supported, but the majority of the country, at the time, was not ready for the direction they wished to drive America towards.
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