America Through The Eyes Of Our Founding Fathers

Almost 250 years ago, a band of brave men and women stood up to a tyrannical government and entered into open rebellion against it.

These rebels were motivated by a desire for liberty, not wanting their lives to be controlled by a distant government which had no idea of who they were or what their lives were like. Their rebellion became a war, which they ultimately won, creating the United States of America.

The battle cry which brought those Founding Fathers to open warfare was “taxation without representation.” They were offended by the need to pay taxes to a distant government which didn’t look after their needs.

But even worse than that, they were taxed without being allowed any representation in the parliament of that country. To them, taxation without representation was tyranny, and they rose up against it.

The opening move in that rebellion was one of controlled violence. A band of rebels, disguised as American Indians, boarded three American owned and built ships tied up to Griffin’s Wharf in Boston, Massachusetts. There, they bound the guards, and proceeded to throw the contents of 342 crates of tea, belonging to the British East Indian Company.

Why would they do such a thing? More directly, why would my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Silas Hubble (that’s five “greats”), a law-abiding subject of England, choose to partake in such an event? Because that tea carried a tax stamp. One more tax, levied by the English Crown, on colonists who were not represented in Parliament. That stamp became a symbol of the tyranny of England, calling for its destruction, along with the tea that bore it.

The Boston Tea Party became the spark which unified the colonies and started the war. Americans from all walks of life, gathered together to form an army, an army with one purpose – only that of throwing off the tyrannical rule of Britain.

Interestingly enough, the men who participated in this raid were very concerned about not breaking the law or causing damage to the owners of those ships. They did no violence to the members of the crews guarding those ships, merely binding them. The only damage they inflicted on those ships was a broken padlock, holding shut the hatch to the hold. They had to remove it to gain access to the tea, so they bought another padlock and left it for the captain of that ship.

This is an interesting contrast to the protests and demonstrations we see today, which are marked not only by their violence, but by their wonton destruction as well. Demonstrators, or more likely the paid agitators in their midst, make a point of breaking windows, overturning police cars and setting buildings on fire. Silas Hubble and his compatriots would be horrified.

Another huge difference between that demonstration and the demonstrations of today was their purpose. The Founding Fathers fought for freedom, which to them, meant freedom from government interference. But today’s protesters and revolutionaries are bound by the common thread of wanting a more oppressive government, one that cares for them from cradle to grave.

These demonstrators commonly call for a socialist form of government, not really understanding what that means. To them, socialism is the government giving them freebies.

But they fail to realize that for the government to do that, they must take that money and the individual freedom of their fellow Americans. Few of them have been on the other side of the fence, watching their paycheck diminish as the government took more and more away in the form of taxes.

Breaking from Tyranny

The American Revolution was against tyranny and those who joined in had a clear understanding of what that tyranny looked like. An overbearing government, far removed from their daily lives, was stealing from them in the form of taxes, while not giving them anything in return. That was tyranny.

So they went to war, an upstart collection of colonies against the mightiest army and navy in the world. That, in and of itself was remarkable. To think that untrained farmers and craftsmen would stand up against the might of the British government was truly amazing.

But to see them win and cast off the yoke of tyranny was even more amazing. They accomplished what nobody else thought was possible and so founded the greatest nation on the face of the Earth.

Having just broken the bonds of tyranny, the Continental Congress wanted to protect their fledgling nation from it ever occurring again. Through much hard work and thought, hammering out the details in endless debates, they crafted one of the greatest political documents of history – the United States Constitution.

The purpose of the Constitution was to define and establish the government of this new nation. It was written with certain goals in mind, amongst which was minimal central government, creating a balance of power between the central government and the states, and splitting the government’s power between three separate, but equal branches, so that power could not be consolidated in one branch or in the hands of one individual.

That is not to say that all of the Founding Fathers were comfortable with the restraints that the Constitution placed upon the government. Some wanted a strong central government, with limited state powers. But that group ultimately lost out to those who wanted a small federal government.

Another disagreement led to the writing of the Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. Some felt that the Constitution, as drafted, guaranteed those rights. But others did not feel so, as they were not specifically enumerated.

Ultimately, this latter group won out, and the Bill of Rights was created. Once again, its purpose was to limit government power, not to give the government power.

Remember that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects peoples’ right to keep and bear arms for purposes that include self-defense. The Second Amendment was written so you can defend yourself!

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Limited Government

Yet when we look at Washington today, we see a massive bureaucracy, which tries to meddle in every area of our lives. The Founding Fathers would be horrified by this, as it is the last thing they ever wanted. If anything, the Constitution and Bill of Rights give more power to the “several states” rather than to the central government. Yet the central government has stolen that power.

There is nothing which demonstrates more clearly than the Civil War how state power has been stolen.

While the main motivating factor in Southern cessation was slavery, the fact that the federal government didn’t allow them to secede, but rather went to war over it, was a massive theft of state powers by the federal government. In it, the several states lost their right to determine whether they would freely associate with the rest of the nation, or not.

Were the Founding Fathers to resurrect today, the first thing they would do is scale the federal government back. The Old Executive Office Building, originally built in 1871, was erected to be the home of the Departments of State, War (Army) and Navy. Yet today, it houses none of these functions, merely acting as an annex to the White House and holding additional staff members to the President.

To those Founding Fathers, several of the departments of the Executive Branch would be baffling, seen as unnecessary or as treasonous to the American people. They had fought for liberty and to find departments of the government which were meddling in the affairs of the citizens would bother them greatly. To them, the federal government we have today, would be even worse than the government they broke away from in the Revolutionary War.

Giving our government the benefit of the doubt (something I’m not normally wont to do), I believe that some of those departments would be accepted and understood by the Founding Fathers, after explanation and reflection. But not many.

Overall, they would see them as unnecessary meddling in the lives and businesses of the American people. In the cases of things that are necessary governmental services, such as education, they would ask why that wasn’t left at the state or even local level, as it was during their time.

But no governmental department would bother them more than the infernal IRS. Considering that they had just fought a war to get out from under the yoke of unreasonable taxation, the very idea that the American people would tolerate the existence of such an organization would be baffling. It would not surprise me if they were to rush it en masse, burning the building to the ground, as soon as they were made aware of its presence.

Citizen Legislators

The original Continental Congress, which published the Declaration of Independence wasn’t made up of professional politicians. Rather, it was made of farmers and businessmen, who left their homes to go to Boston and returned back home after the government’s business was concluded.

Alexander Hamilton, who presided over that Congress, was a ship’s captain, who returned to his ship and set sail, once the Congress was dismissed.

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In creating the United States of America, the Founding Fathers were breaking away from the aristocratic rule of European countries. There would be no hereditary royalty who ruled the people, but rather representatives who were elected from the communities they represented.

There was to be no permanent political class either. Representatives would be farmers, craftsmen and business owners who had earned the trust of their neighbors. They would serve in government part time, returning to their communities to run their farms and businesses.

Yet today we have a permanent political class, where most of our politicians at the federal level have spent their entire professional lives as politicians. Few of them have any other skills or know any other profession than that of governing, and because of that, they are largely disconnected from the people that they represent.

I can clearly imagine any one of the Founding Fathers facing off against Congress and using Donald Trump’s famous line, “You’re fired!” They would see the permanent political class as nothing more than the permanent ruling class in England, something that they tried to eradicate on these shores.

Balance of Power

As the Founding Fathers looked closer, they would quickly see how the balance of power between the three branches of government has been corrupted. Through the years, both the Executive and Judicial branch have stolen power from the Legislative branch, reducing the influence of Congress, while increasing their own.

The idea of governing by executive fiat was never a part of the original plan, although power for executive orders are written in the Constitution. But that was only intended to give the president power to execute laws that were already in existence; not create his own or eliminate those he didn’t like.

Likewise, the judicial branch was never given power to create their own laws by the decisions handed down from the bench. Their function was limited to determining whether the laws created by Congress had been broken or not.

Decisions such as Roe vs. Wade and the supposed right of homosexuals to marry in same sex marriages would horrify them; not just for the lack of morality behind those decisions, but because the Supreme Court was adding “rights” to the Constitution which didn’t exist.

Morality & Religion

Speaking of morality, we must remember that of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, 53 of them were Christians. Twenty-seven of them had attended seminary. This nation was founded as a Christian nation; the only one in the history of the world.

Yet, Barack Obama’s declaration that this is no longer a Christian nation is much closer to the truth than many of us would care to face. Christianity is on the decline, rapidly being replaced by Secular Humanism, Islam, the New Age movement and outright atheism.

Many of the original settlers on these shores came here for religious liberty. At that time, the phrase “religious liberty” referred to the expression of the Christian religion, not Islam, secular humanism or any of the other religions which are seeking to take over society. They were concerned about a government sponsored church forcing everyone to accept the “official” version of Christianity, as the Church of England imposed upon their society. Hence the First Amendment gives us the right to freedom of religion.

Nevertheless, the morals of today, or more correctly the lack of morals in our modern society, would be shocking to the Founding Fathers. They created this country to be a Christian country, expressing Christian values and living in accordance with the commandments of the Bible. What it has become today would be both shocking and repugnant to them.

Helping the Poor

The poor have always existed. The most ancient evidence that exists shows poor people populating the world. In fact, the vast majority of people have been poor, throughout the majority of history. Helping the poor was seen as a work for churches, religious societies and other “do-gooder organizations” (non-profit corporations).

Some of the poor were poor due to circumstances beyond their control. These are often referred to as the “widows and orphans” of history. The Christian Bible even makes reference to them, admonishing Christians to help them out.

But there were others who were poor because of drunkenness, laziness and a lack of a good work ethic. While their numbers were much lower than those of today, they existed.

In the culture of the 1700s and 1800s such people were looked down upon. Their problems were seen as something of their own creation. As such, they earned no pity and were not supported by the community. Any handouts were reserved for those considered to be “legitimately poor,” the aforementioned widows and orphans.

The idea that the government would be in the business of redistributing wealth to help the poor was something totally foreign to them. They would not understand it.

While they were all good men, who probably would have reached out a hand to help a person in need, they would never think that their taxes would be spent in such a way. They especially wouldn’t think that entitlements would become the single largest part of government spending.

Yet that’s what we have today. I can see these men admonishing citizens and especially the church, to take up this burden and remove it from the government. They would probably be some of the first to give, in order to make this possible.

Conclusions

In reality, the America of today is vastly different from the America of our Founding Fathers. We have come so far down the road of change, that it’s doubtful that they would recognize the country as being the one they had founded. While some of that can be written off to changes in society and technology, even without those changes, they would not recognize the country we have become.

More than anything, they would be concerned about the size of our federal government, both in the amount of wealth it takes from our economy and the amount of regulatory burden it puts on people’s lives. While some of that is obviously necessary, they could not accept it as it is.

Were the Founding Fathers alive today, we could expect a second American Revolution, and they’d be the ones to start it.

by Bill White

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