Lewis is fanatic for Thomas Paine. He tries to give Paine credit, not only for the
DoI, but also for the Bill of Rights, the Constitutions of Pennsylvania, Virginia,
and France, the Louisiana Purchase, the French Declaration of Rights, the Virginia
Religious Freedom proposal and so on. I expected him to be credited with designing
Montecello and the University of Virginia, but Lewis doesn't go that far. All the
evidence for Paine's authorship of the DoI is circumstantial and unpersuasive.
However, a few facts support his theory. The references to Scotsmen and foreign
mercenaries seem more like something an English-bred man would write than a Virginian.
Also, TJ's description of how the DoI was written could be taken two ways. He didn't
say he wrote it, he said he "drew" it. And he said he referred to no book or pamphlet
but merely wrote the "common sense" on the subject. Could this be a secret pun?
Year Read: 1980
Libertarian Essays by Roy Halliday
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