Why isn’t Paine recognized as a leading figure of the American Revolution?
Like most topics in American history, there are two camps of historians. One group, which has emerged since the 1960’s, recognizes Paine as the preeminent Founder. As the 200 years of institutional neglect of Paine has lost its hold on scholarship, many historians and authors are correcting the record and bringing Paine to the forefront. However a large, established group of historians, in the old mold of idolizing the Federalists at the expense of the democratic wing of the Revolution, still hold sway over much of historical analysis. One reason for this is the repetition of faulty historicity from early biographies of Paine, biographies that were written by political enemies of Paine, and by paid agents of the British royalty. Modern biographies still reflect the “false facts” from those early misinformation campaigns. Most accounts of the Revolution minimize Paine’s crucial role, something our Association hopes to correct.