Was Paine the real author of the Declaration of Independence?

Our Association has not taken a position on this question. Several authors have made a case for Paine being the author, but the mainstream of historians have dismissed it. What can be said is that Common Sense prepared the framework and indeed much of the specific language of the Declaration. Common Sense spurred most states, cities, towns and counties to write their own Declarations in the spring of 1776 using language contained in Common Sense. From that fact alone, we regard Common Sense as the founding document of the United States. Whether Paine wrote or helped write the Declaration, itself, is an interesting topic that we will take up from both sides on this site in the future. (See Thomas Paine and the Declaration of Independence under About Paine/ Articles).