Have you ever wondered how our Founders would have used the Internet? Thomas Jefferson could have posted the Declaration of Independence on his blog and the members of the Continental Congress would have posted in the comments sections what they liked and what they wanted changed. Most certainly a representative of the Crown would be lurking and reading the posts as well as the comments.
Many of our friends on the left like to trash our Founders for being white, male, landowners who benefitted from the labor of the slaves that they owned. I find these comments to be outrageous. These men sacrified their lives and fortune and bet everything they had on an experiment to bring about this nation in that steamy July summer 234 years ago. It is impossible to judge them in 2010 terms. Just as I know that they would be amazed with the technological advances that we have today, but I believe that they would be just as much in awe of the changes in society.
Many like to comment that there were no Founding “Mothers”. The women in the 18th century did were truly the strength behind these men. Abigail Adams ran the family farm in Braintree, MA while John Adams was away. Dolly Madison defended the White House when the British invaded Washington during the War of 1812. It never crossed their minds that they did not have the right to vote–they just did not. It was the society of that time. But these women were not without their influence and would take great pride in how the women in the United States of 2010 have become members of that ‘club’ to which they were denied membership in 1776. I would love to sit with Martha Jefferson and Abigail Adams as they would see Michele Bachmann, Nancy Pelosi, Sarah Palin, and Hillary Rodham Clinton as they appear on television talking about their vision and perspective on how to lead this country. No doubt that they would be puzzled based upon their frame of reference, but very pleased as well.
The institution of slavery was truly a black mark in the history of this nation, however, it was an important part of the economy of the South, and to a major degree also a part of the shipping industry so important to the New England colonies. That in no way condones this, however, it is what is was in that time period. During the debate over the Declaration of Independence, John Adams led the fight to abolish slavery at that time, only to compromise with the Southern colonies who fought bitterly to keep the slavery question separate from the independence of the nation from England. The fight over slavery eventually came to a head in the War Between the States 90 years later–and slavery was forever banned from this nation. While there were African-Americans who were active during the Revolutionary War and were instrumental in establishing this nation, to have the great-granddaughter of a slave now as the First Lady of this nation, and the likes of JC Watts, Alan West, Thurgood Marshall, and Clarence Thomas serving our nation would demonstrate that while our Founders may not have addressed the issue at the time, the nation that they established evolved to a point that would no doubt instill pride in all of them.
The frame of reference of our Founders has to be understood in the context of 1776, not 2010. The nation has evolved and grown beyond even their imaginations. While we still have problems, but there is no doubt that the expectations that our Founders had for this nation have been exceeded. I would like to believe that Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin are reuniting this weekend to reminisce of the heady days in that hot summer in Philadelphia so long ago and delighted with the nation that they risked their fate and fortune to set up on that first Independence Day.
Happy Independence Day everyone! Celebrate freedom!