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Friday, November 1, 2013

Context in interpreting the American Founding Fathers

It's often exhausting when debating people on Progressive initiatives who want to invoke the founding fathers as an argument against a particular said initiative, healthcare for example; of course this is an absurd argument, the founding fathers would have as much to say about a the healthcare system as they would the atomic theory and NASA.

But instead of accepting the premise of that argument, maybe we should take a closer look at 'some' of the things the founders actually did advocate for.  Here are just a few quotes on political participation for the general population in the 18th century Paul Le Blanc illustrated in a talk of his done back in 2010:

"The mob begin to think and to reason. Poor reptiles! it is with them a vernal morning; they are struggling to cast off their winter's slough, they bask in the sunshine, and ere noon they will bite, depend upon it. The gentry begin to fear this. Their Committee will be appointed, they will deceive the people, and again forfeit a share of their confidence. And if these instances of what with one side is policy, with the other perfidy, shall continue to increase, and become more frequent, farewell aristocracy. I see, and I see it with fear and trembling, that if the disputes with Great Britain continue, we shall be under the worst of all possible dominions; we shall be under the domination of a riotous mob." -Gouverneur Morris

"As to your extraordinary Code of Laws, I cannot but laugh. We have been told that our Struggle has loosened the bands of Government every where. That Children and Apprentices were disobedient-that schools and Colledges were grown turbulent- that Indians slighted their Guardians and Negroes grew insolent to their Masters. But your Letter was the first Intimation that another Tribe more numerous and powerfull than all the rest were grown discontented .-This is rather too coarse a Compliment but you are so saucy, I wont blot it out," -John Adams

"Women will demand a Vote. Lads from 12 to 21 will think their Rights not enough attended to, and every Man, who has not a Farthing, will demand an equal Voice with any other in all Acts of State. It tends to confound and destroy all Distinctions, and prostrate all Ranks, to one common Levell." -John Adams

"Men in general in every Society, who are wholly destitute of Property, are also too little acquainted with public Affairs to form a Right Judgment, and too dependent upon other Men to have a Will of their own? If this is a Fact, if you give to every Man, who has no Property, a Vote, will you not make a fine encouraging Provision for Corruption by your fundamental Law? Such is the Frailty of the human Heart, that very few Men, who have no Property, have any Judgment of their own. They talk and vote as they are directed by Some Man of Property, who has attached their Minds to his Interest." -John Adams

"To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, —the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and; the fruits acquired by it.'" -Thomas Jefferson

Least we forget, from a populist point of view; the American Revolution was one started by the mercantile and agrarian elites in the American colonies who were resentful of their British equivalents who would't grant them a seat in the British Parliament.

Wildly popular pieces like Thomas Paine's 'Common Sense' wakened an otherwise ignorant class of common people within the American colonists to question hierarchical authority altogether.