AMERICA – Part I – The Beginning

Election Years come and go, and so do politicians. But one thing remains constant: invoking the names of the Founding Fathers when trying to score political points with voters. The practice of making comparisons to those men who helped establish the nation is not new, nor is associating the personalities and politics of the Founding Fathers with current political agendas.

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In the rush to claim the Founding Fathers for a particular political issue or party, certain facts may be ignored or lost. Truth be told, commanding the legacy of the Founding Fathers is not as simple as it might appear. The Founding Fathers were not a unified, monolithic group. They were a curious mix of occupations and backgrounds: farmers, inventors, merchants, writers, politicians, judges, lawyers, scientists, doctors and teachers. One was a college president. Three were retired. Twelve were slaveholders. Most were natives of the thirteen colonies. Nine had emigrated from a variety of conutries and regions, including England, Ireland, Scotland and the West Indies. Some were quite wealthy, others were well-to-do and some atruggled daily with financial problems.

They did not share exactly the same beliefs or principles, and they did not always agree with one another. They did not even have a common political agenda. Despite their many differences, these men agreed on one important point: freedom from tyranny was so vital and so precious it was worth risking their property, their reputations and their lives to achieve it.

When people reference the Founding Fathers, they are often referring to a certain list of names: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, John Jay, James Madison and Alexsander Hamilton. While these men can be thought of as the primary group of Founding Tathers, in fact the number of men involved in the nation’s foundidng was much greater. According to historian R. B. Bernstein, author of  The Founding Fathers Reconsidered, most historians define the Founding Fathers as a larger group that includes individuals who were not present at the signing of the Declaration of Independence or who helped draft the Constitution, but whose contributions to the building of the United States are still valuable and helped those other Founding Fathers to achieve their goals.

The majority of Americans has likely never experienced a time when they could not think, sayh, and do what they pleased. Although they must, of course, obey the laws of the land, Americans are free to vote for the candidate of their candidate of there choice. Americans are also free to criticize those elected to public office. Americans may speak their minds on a host of matters. They are free to work, live, and travel where they please. Americans are free to practice religion as they see fit, or not at all if they so choose. These freedoms that the presnet generation takes for granted can make itdifficult to appreciate the struggles and risks that the Founding Fathers confronted.

Many of these men have assumed a larger-than-life status. In some respects, they were most remarkable men who were called on to carry out special duties, but every single one of them was also human.

The term ‘Founding Fathers” often refers to those who contributed to the establishment of American independence and the creation of a new nation. We have accepted that conventional definition because there is no compelling reason to change it, and have chosen to feature a number of individuals who played a key role in the fight for independence and/or the founding of the United States. The men chosen for this volume include those who wrote and those who signed the Declaration of Independence. These are the “Signers”. Those who helped craft the Constitution must also be recognized. They were the “Framers”. It must also be noted that those who do not belong in either of the other categories but who nonetheless made valuable contributions to Americn independence and liberty must be recognized.

The world of the Founding Fathers encompassed some of the most important events in American history. It was a road that started out as a desire for colonial autonomy from the British Crown that eventually led to a quest for freedom as a new nation. In the process, a war was fought, even as patriot leaders debated and argued over what this new free nation would be. No one had a map or a guide to what constituted this new country. Yet somehow, this seemingly disparate group of men from a wide variety of backgrounds and interest were able to craft a new nation bound by new documents that talked of freedom equality and government by and for the people. All very radical concepts made even more amazing in light of the gentlemen who dreamt, argued and wrote of them.

…to be continued with Part 2 –The Road to Revolution

Source: Founding Fathers – by Meg Greene, MA, MS and Paula M. Stathakis, PHD

Aadamsmedia – Avon, Nassachusetts

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