Why The Founding Fathers Matter to Americans
Young people tell me I’m out of touch for believing in the American Founding Fathers. I’m told they are racist, slave-holding, dead white men.
Well, the dead white men, is one hundred percent, slaveholding fifty-five percent, racist is a modern term. These men were products of their Eighteenth Century upbringing.
I’ve said to people, if Abraham Lincoln, the President who provided the path to the freedom of the slaves, lived in the modern era, he would be considered a racist. Lincoln initially believed the two races couldn’t live together, and he favored shipping them to Liberia.
I just read a book about Thomas Jefferson by Andrew Burstein called Democracy’s Muse. Jefferson ends up becoming whatever an American reads into him, all while being dead, according to Burstein.
Some of the Founding Fathers were smugglers and did some nefarious things. It’s what they produced in the end.
No, they were nowhere near perfect, not even close. They did try, though. Most had classical educations and studied Ancient Greece and Rome. They worked hard to create a blueprint we as Americans could live by.
I agree the Founding Fathers didn’t represent certain groups. It’s time we made sure those groups are part of the plan.
What happens if we drop the Founding Fathers from the equation and our founding?
First of all, if that’s the case, then the comprehensive history of the United States goes as follows:
The Native Americans came across the Bering Strait many thousands of years ago. Then Europeans arrived and drove them back. Africans were brought as slaves. Many Europeans were indentured servants who had a chance if they survived.
In other words, people just sort of “showed up here,” Well, shucks, I have nothing better to do; I’m going to America. The Africans, of course, didn’t have a choice. I remember a cartoon in one of the books John Cleese of Monty Python wrote with his friend and former therapist, Dr. Robin Skynner. The cartoon was Native Americans greeting Pilgrims in Massachusetts. The caption was a Pilgrim saying, “We know why we’re here, but you seem to have no purpose at all.”
The thirteen original colonies were each founded for different reasons. The Founding Fathers worked to create compromises to make the United States work.
If you say the Founding Fathers are phony or inappropriate, isn’t the unsaid frame, the immigrants and their ancestors who came here, came under false pretenses?
I reread a book I had to read for class—a People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. Again, I’m not saying some pretty bad things didn’t happen When I reread the book with a different eye, though, it was a feeling that he was a rather pompous man. (He died in 2010). His attitude seemed to be, “You, the unenlightened white man, might become a better person if you listen to what I say.” I bring white up only because everyone keeps talking about dead white guys. I will be one of those one day. (Sorry, my sarcasm meter went off).
If we drop the Founding Fathers, what will we have to replace them? What does the United States become?