Woods poses an very interesting point when he notes that the time around the Revolution was "an Age of Paine" and yet questions why "Paine's qualifications as a founder have not impressed many Americans." Obviously, as the author points out, Paine was an extremely influential writer, selling over "150,000 copies" of his pamphlet "Common Sense" and using a "simple, direct" tone which "spoke out of a deep anger [that] shared in those years by many common people." Yet why, considering all these things, is Paine still regarded somewhat as an outkast?
Woods answers the question of why Paine is an outkast now (as compared to the normally considered founding fathers) by stating that Paine was an outkast then. Unlike other fouding fathers, Paine "was not a political leader; he was exclusively a writer." And on top of that, most political leaders of the age considered "their writings only [as] by-products of their careers as lawyers, palnters, or political leaders." In other words, most leaders of the time had a main career, and politics and writing were things they did on the side, but not as their full career. Paine, on the other hand, wrote and attempted politics as his full and only career. He was a "filthy little athiest" who appealed to the masses and whose fame, which at its peak was enormous, possibly more so then any other founding fathers', was relatively short lived.
I believe this extremely high amount of short lived fame is something which we find commonly in our society today. Nowadays, thanks to the mass audience which is reached by the ever expanding internet, people who are out of the norm or who "[speak] out of a deep anger," such as Paine did, receive relatively high amounts of fame but for a short period of time. We could compare Paine to coppercab, creator of the famous "Gingers do have souls" video on youtube, or received lots of fame for a short period of time and is not considered a gentleman. Or even someone like Stephanie Meyers, who may be influencial among the public for her writing but not so in politics.
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