By Ed Barker ~ May 9, 2016
Over the years I have become increasingly less willing to sit by and quietly accept the myths many conservatives attempt to weave into the fabric of American history. For example, you can start with the old clap-trap about our Founding Fathers being a bunch of conservatives.
It’s simply not true.
And every red-blooded American should challenge such statements as soon as they are uttered.
Our Founding Fathers started a revolutionary war with a foreign power that was occupying our country. Holy Che Guevara, Founding Fathers don’t come any more liberal than that!
Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, creating the liberal document that would be used as the basis for universal human rights for centuries to come.
The Founding Fathers also supported big government. They found that small government under the Articles of Confederation didn’t cut it. Chaos reigned, revenue couldn’t be raised and laws conflicted between the states. Small government failed. So, the Founders met in 1787 and wrote the Constitution, “growing” and creating a bigger, stronger central government.
Within the Constitution, the Founders gave power to the Congress to levy taxes. The Founding Fathers never had an issue with taxes. They had an issue with representation. Founder James Monroe once said, “To impose taxes when the public exigencies require them is an obligation of the most sacred character, especially with a free people.”
“Taxes are the price of civilization,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes. Or you could relocate to tax-free Somalia.
The Founding Fathers also made it possible for us to change the Constitution when necessary. That is the beauty of the document, and it’s a liberal idea which is what the Founders intended.
And did you know that in 1798, Founder John Adams signed the very first health care mandate into law? It required sailors to pay a tax to the United States government, which, in turn, provided them with medical care.
The Founding Fathers also viewed corporations with suspicion and largely kept them at arms length. In fact, one reason the founders went to war with Britain is because of the influence that the East India Trading Company had on the British Parliament.
Did you know a corporation once governed Massachusetts on behalf of England? The Revolutionary War ended that nonsense. After the nation’s founding, corporations were granted state charters as they are today. Unlike today, however, corporations were only permitted to exist 20 or 30 years and could only deal in one commodity, could not hold stock in other companies, and their property holdings were limited to what they needed to accomplish their business goals.
Perhaps the most important facet of all this is that most states in the early days of the nation had laws on the books that made any political contribution by corporations a criminal offense, which shows that today’s Supreme Court conservatives are out of touch with our Founders.
Still not convinced? Here’s some advice from Thomas Jefferson that all Americans should take to heart. “I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
Finally, the separation of church and state is not just a liberal concept; the Founding Fathers made it part of America’s sacred foundation. Freedom of Religion was not included in the Constitution just to protect Christianity. Freedom of Religion protects ALL religions and protects people FROM religions.
James Madison wrote, “The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.”
The Founding Fathers were definitely not conservatives. For that matter, dear readers, neither were the founders of the Republican Party.
In this nation, all of us are free to believe and espouse whatever historically ignorant or twisted theories we wish, even if they justify intolerance, selfishness and a disregard for our fellow men and women. But I firmly believe no one should be allowed to postulate unchallenged while attempting to pass off such dubious theories as American.