Thomas Paine: Author of the Declaration of Independence
by Joseph Lewis

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

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