As students at the University of Michigan we appreciate the many benefits of diversity. The University is composed of people of various religions, races, and ethnicities. Diversity is touted as one of the University’s core values. “The University’s diverse blend of students, staff and faculty is a tremendous resource, and we all benefit from this mix of perspectives and experiences.” 
The University has made moves to publicize and, in some instances, institutionalize diversity. Whether it is through the Expect Respect campaign, or the more controversial (and now abandoned) affirmative action policies, the University does much to promote diversity.
To us, modern students in this inclusive University, some of Paine’s ideas about minorities might seem puzzling, if not offensive. Why does Paine insist in his writing that not all groups be included in the new polity? Does he not see the benefits of a diverse community? Must we discredit his work because of his exclusionary vision for the new nation?
We will find sufficient answers to these questions when we consider Paine as a political theorist. While Paine might have held views that we could today be classified as racist or sexist, I argue his political identity as a civic republican was the primary reason why he believed certain groups needed to be excluded.
“In this extensive quarter of the globe, we forget the narrow limits of three hundred and sixty miles (the extent of England) and carry our friendship on a larger scale; we claim brotherhood with every European Christian, and triumph in the generosity of the sentiment.” So much can be said about this short excerpt.
Slaves, African as they were, would not have a place in this new society. Neither would Jews. Since Paine is claiming “brotherhood” with European Christians it is doubtful that women would be included. Would Paine consider Catholics to be eligible for inclusion in this new society? Possibly, but considering the rampant anti-Catholicism in the colonies, maybe not.
When we remember that Paine was a civic republican, this all makes sense. Paine considered the community to be the fundamental political unit. He had to create the notion of a “people”.
Morone writes, “Ultimately, “the people” is a reification, a powerful political fiction.” It was this same fiction that Paine had to create.
To suggest that European Christians with varying interests and of varying classes could unite into one brotherhood was myth enough. To claim that everyone, including those who at the time were considered subordinate or inferior, could come together as equals would simply not have been believable. It is clear that Paine viewed diversity as a threat.
We should not pass judgment on Paine because he failed to include everyone in his vision for America. When we consider the political and historical environment in which he lived and wrote, his vision for the new nation makes more sense.
 Common Sense, The Rights of Man, and Other Essential Writings of Thomas Paine, p. 39
 James A. Morone, The Democratic Wish, p. 7