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"where would the Founders stand today?" Topic

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doc mcb02 Jan 2022 8:42 p.m. PST

This should be read for fun rather than as a serious analysis. Plus, of course, these men all rejected the idea of political parties, even as they created and led them. (Washington most, but all considered themselves the voice of The People and their enemies as a wicked faction.) The portraits of each of them are inadequate, and some, like Jefferson's, wildly so. Still, were I giving a test at the end of the unit on the Revolution, I might give the descriptions and ask students to ID who it refers to.


Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2022 10:15 p.m. PST

Cannot read this without subscribing, doc, and it not on my list of publications to read. Still, the article is likely not needed to give an answer Will give it some thought.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2022 10:57 p.m. PST

Amusing piece. Not sure I agree with his conclusions, though Franklin as (an unnamed) Bill O'Reilly type I can see happening. Of course it's all conjecture and a bit silly, and probably isn't intended all that seriously to begin with.

doc mcb03 Jan 2022 5:02 a.m. PST

Parzival, yes, agreed.

doc mcb03 Jan 2022 5:04 a.m. PST

Tort, I do not subscribe. Their paywall seems inconsistent. It is just for fun, in any case.

Garth in the Park03 Jan 2022 6:42 a.m. PST

Isn't this sort of like asking, "Which brand of microwave would Julius Caesar prefer?" You reach a point when changes in society, economics, and especially technology make so many comparisons moot that it's pointless.

The Founders would probably not have recognized the republic by the mid-19th century, certainly once common people began voting for their Senators and for the president, and the slaves were made citizens. Can you imagine what Washington would have thought of a black governor issuing executive orders that were binding upon white people?

Most Americans seem to invoke the Founders very selectively, and rarely with much historical context, as a means of justifying whatever their current 21st century political beliefs are. The Founders showed exactly what they thought of most Americans, by carefully circumscribing the franchise to prevent the Unwashed masses from wielding any direct power: no voting for Senators, no voting for the President, and your vote for the House can be limited by your state on the basis of property or any number of other factors, as their leaders choose.

It was a very modern government for the 18th century. And about as appropriate for the 21st century as 18th century dentistry is today. That's why it has changed as much as it has. Would the Founders be Okay with those changes? Who cares? They're long dead, and so is their world.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2022 7:18 a.m. PST

Garth you make a good point, although I still care. I often think about giving Washinton a taxi ride around his old LI/NYC battlegrounds today. But there are principles contained among the Founders work.

Franklin as Bill OReilly? Cringe!!

Stryderg03 Jan 2022 7:36 a.m. PST

If you think about how intelligent/educated/aware/involved the average person is, then consider that about half the population don't reach that level…maybe restricting their power isn't such a bad thing, maybe.

As to the founders, I think they would shrug their shoulders and say, "well, it was good while it lasted"

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2022 8:35 a.m. PST

Good points, Stryderg. And life goes on.

Garth in the Park03 Jan 2022 9:31 a.m. PST

I often think about giving Washinton a taxi ride

I'd love to have a few beers with Ben Franklin, but I suspect Jefferson would stiff me with the tab. And Hamilton probably wouldn't tip, unless the waitress was cute.

then consider that about half the population don't reach that level…maybe restricting their power isn't such a bad thing

Totally. But of course I'd think that, as I'm well educated. And how did a peasant like me get well educated? Only because of all those changes that happened since the 18th century, like public schooling, public universities, and so on.

In the 18th century I'd just be another peasant, unqualified to vote for much of anything, so nobody would care what I thought.

doc mcb03 Jan 2022 10:09 a.m. PST

They were men, as flawed as we are, but they combined to do a great thing. MIRACLE IN PHILADELPHIA is a good title.

Stryderg03 Jan 2022 10:36 a.m. PST

But of course I'd think that, as I'm well educated.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bragging or assuming that I'm in the above average group. Honestly don't know where I would fall on that continuum. But I'm sure everyone thinks they are above average.

42flanker03 Jan 2022 11:20 a.m. PST

"I often think about giving Washinton a taxi ride around his old LI/NYC battlegrounds today."

Well, I don't suppose he would exclaim "What have they done to my battlefield?"

You'ld have to drive farther south and west for that.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2022 11:54 a.m. PST

I don't think Washington would care what was done to a battlefield. He'd be more impressed with all the buildings, though he'd be shocked at how ugly many of them are. And then in some areas of NYC, New Jersey and Philadelphia, he'd be enquiring as to what war was currently being fought.

Also @Tortó To be fair, I named Bill O'Reilly as an example; the author did not. He just speculated that Franklin would be an independent media platform guy with no stated party affiliation who was happy to jab at any faction he disagreed with. I pictured O'Reilly as an example of that (he's more center right than anything, and I believe at one time was a registered Democrat). So in the context of the article's musing, I do see Franklin as being that self-ascribed neutral media pundit (whether actually neutral or not) with a national following. He'd have loved radio, TV and podcasting. Heck, I'd be a listener! I bet you would be, too. grin

doc mcb03 Jan 2022 2:29 p.m. PST

I enjoyed the picture of Washington becoming the head of Trump's party.

"Washington despised political parties. Given his deep conservatism, I have little doubt that Washington, if he lived today, would be a Republican. Would he really be a Donald Trump Republican? The question misses an important point: any party, faction, or group that George Washington joined would immediately be led by George Washington. He was that kind of man. Trump, like any other Republican, would follow him."

doc mcb03 Jan 2022 7:24 p.m. PST

No, Trump as a Washington man. I have said, twice now, that is is for fun and yes, a little silly.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2022 6:18 a.m. PST

+1 Parzival. Franklin would still be the sage of the nation, unique in any period, and any conversation would be a ratings winner!

I would be driving George around for the sheer fun of hearing him react to such massive inconceivable change.

Yes he would be a Republican, a true conservative and we could bask in his integrity. Trump follows Trump, would be insanely jealous. Like Lincoln, George has great experience in holding things together in times of crisis. He would avoid the media, unlike Franklin, who would master it with wisdom and wit. Of course he would secure the airports, ram the ramparts, and make everyone get inoculated. No foreign entanglements. A great daydream !

doc mcb04 Jan 2022 7:16 a.m. PST

Tort, yes, and you left out his austere dignity. Donald Trump has many gifts, but that is not among them.

Au pas de Charge Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2022 11:41 a.m. PST

If Washington found out about a biracial man becoming president, I am fairly sure he would do a spit take. However, he would enjoy watching the film Patton and offer to help kick the Russians out of Ukraine.

I think that Franklin, Jefferson and myself would adjourn to a gentleman's club.

Most of the Southern Founders would found tech startups and try to enlist unpaid interns to help them while someone like Adams would join a class action or injury law firm and rake it in.

doc mcb04 Jan 2022 12:29 p.m. PST

Charge, LOL, but I think GW would have warned of entangling alliances. Oh, right, he did!

As to your second and third, yup, probably so.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2022 2:40 p.m. PST


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