Thomas Paine established himself as a talented writer and was very influential in the course of American history; just not in the same way that the founding fathers were. Wood calls this apparent lack of reverence for Paine "astonishing" (207), considering his unique writing capabilities and similarities in beliefs with other founding fathers. However this is part of what disqualifies him from founding father status; the majority of his writings were reiteration of others' theories in such a way that it was more relate-able to every-day Americans. While this is notable and Paine should still be respected for the far-reaching implications of Common Sense, he didn't develop any distinct individual political theories. Wood even says that "Indeed, if Jefferson had ever written out in any systematic way what he believed about politics, it would have resembled much of The Rights of Man." (213) Although Paine related to the American people on one level, he also alienated them on another through his promotion of religious views that were considered unorthodox and his defiant statements that he was not promoting America, but instead certain beliefs and practices which America happened to embrace at the time. Because Paine wasn't a statesman and didn't have any political power to fall back on, he fell from the graces of the general public. While he is still respected and his literary influence is clearly evident today, I think classification of Paine as a founding father would be unwarranted.
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