Although Thomas Paine never secured a spot on the list of the Founding Fathers club, he was no less important and influential than Washington, Franklin, or Jefferson. The reason for his lack of Fatherly status is that he was an uncensored social critic in a time where his actions were unprecedented. Unlike the other gentlemanly Founding Fathers, Paine "spoke openly to the people in the streets, and that made all the difference." Only his ideas on paper were famous. As an "unconnected" man, he did not have the social status to shift the fame from his work to himself, and the fact that he was so shameless in his complaints kept from from ever doing so. Yet, despite the fact that Paine as a man didn't stay in the spotlight of history, his actions had a profound effect on American political culture. His blatant criticisms and idealistic preaching directly kindled the pride American's hold in their 1st Amendment rights.
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