Wood argues in his thesis that Thomas Paine, while an extremely influential cog in the machine that was the American Revolution, he has been denied the right to be called a Founding Father, and rightfully so, in my opinion. Wood points out that Paine provided only a tangible representation of the ideas, thoughts, and philosophies of enlightened European thinkers at the time. Thomas Paine largely just converted preexisting thoughts into an accessible format for encouraging opposition to British rule. Another factor playing against Paine is that he spends a very brief period of time in America, growing up overseas and eventually returning there once he fades into oblivion in terms of popularity. The fact that he didn't even stay in the new country he so influenced, coupled with the fact that he was of a lower socioeconomic standing and never garnered political success distances him even further from the core Founding Fathers. While Thomas Paine did help revolutionize and activate the direct changes to the American government, his role seemed to be more of a translator, as he reworded great philosophies into words any average pamphlet-reader could understand and ideally agree with, as he didn't tangibly change the structure of the government or directly help in its founding. Paine's lack of connections in the American world also minimized his apparent significance today.
[Last edited Dec 19, 2012 03:27:47]