Thomas Paine has never been accepted as one of the true founding fathers. He has always been viewed as the radical that was no more American than the King. Gordon Wood says that Paine was never admitted as a founding father because of the contrast between his writings and his person. People talked about him, saying, "he is better in print than in the flesh." While Paine was a great and moving author, he never achieved the same social status as many other founders. Franklin was the closest to Paine in personality, but Franklin successfully achieved gentleman status.
Paine did not consider himself to be an American citizen, but rather a "citizen of the world". Paine himself said that he saw America as not his country, but rather a "country [he] had befriended." Overall, Paine is not considered a founding father, because he didn't even consider himself to be an American. He never gained the warmth of the American people as an outsider.
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