Thomas Paine was a man who scared those who wrote the history books of his time, so Wood argued that he became under-appreciated by people who study our nation's history today. However, I feel that Wood ignores the fact that to not be a founding father does not mean to be a nobody. As many of us have, if you take APUS you will learn about the far reaching impact of Common Sense. Wood does well to draw the line between restating old ideas in a fresh way, which Paine did, and coming up with new ideas for a nation, which most of the founding fathers did. However, this is actually what makes Paine important. The reason he was so integral to the Revolutionary Era was "not so much what he said but how he said it and to whom." Being the mouthpiece of the revolution, boiling down complex thoughts and serving him to the public gave him the role of ambassador to the people and also helped get people "pumped." By fanning the revolutionary flame, he spread out the revolution among the masses, rather then leaving it concentrated in the intelligentsia. Unfortunately for his image, this sort of blatantness damaged his reputation by giving his critics ammunition for ad hominem attacks regarding his religion. However, I wouldn't say that Paine is forgotten. I simply think he is remembered for what he was, and that what he was was not a founding father.
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