Was Paine the real author of the Declaration of Independence?

No. 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 it. From that fact alone, we regard Common Sense as the founding document of the United States. (See Thomas Paine and the Declaration of Independence under About Paine/ Articles). HOWEVER, a recent discovery of a document places Paine in the room for its creation, with a position of authority. See The Truth Seeker (Sept. 2019) article on this document and its significance.