The Motives of the Founding Fathers

The Motives of the Founding Fathers


B: People have a lot of differing beliefs about the Founding Fathers, referring to those who framed the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.  There are a bunch who feel that they wanted a government that was “by, of, and for the people,” and that would be limited in its powers of restriction of freedom, especially considering the frustrations they had in their day with the government to which they were subject, and probably also with other disappointingly ineffective governments of the past.  There had to be some of this among their intentions, since the government they constructed was one of the most liberating that the world has ever known.

But there are some who point to certain statements made by some of those Fathers that indicate they weren’t all just about freedom; these detractors think that there was somewhat of a consensus about allowing government to make some occasional intervention in areas that couldn’t go without it.  There’s undoubtedly a bunch of evidence supporting this idea.

Personally, I favor the first interpretation of their motives – that is, the one that favors more freedom and less government intervention.  But my point here isn’t to show that my interpretation is correct, but rather to emphasize that it doesn’t really matter whether my or anyone else’s beliefs of the Fathers’ motives are correct.  What matters is that we do the right thing now, regardless of what originally may have been intended.

As I’ve mentioned before, I believe the Constitution to be an inspired document, but having been written by flawed men, it doesn’t seem too much a stretch to suggest that perhaps it contains some mistakes as well.  (Incidentally – not that it matters, again – it seems to me that those Founding Fathers would be among the first to admit that.)  If there are mistakes, then the thing can be improved upon, and, by golly, why shouldn’t we?  We just have to make sure that what we’re doing is truly improvement, and that we’re not just following some trend that seems like a good idea at the time.  That would seem to imply that whatever improvements are ever made, if there truly are any to be made, should be consistent with eternal truth.

This is not to say, however, that we should just crumple up the Constitution and throw it away.  The thing is the law of the land, for crying out loud, and is binding to all U.S. citizens.  We can’t just revise it to suit whatever pleasures we may have.  Any change we attempt to make should be consistent with the original document.  This is how it should have been ever since its implementation in the first place.  All I’m saying is that when we talk about what changes to make, the actual motives of the Founding Fathers, whatever they were, aren’t really relevant; all that matters is what is the right thing to do, and that it’s consistent with the Constitution.

A: Isn’t that basically what speculation about the motives of the Founding Fathers boils down to?

B: Perhaps it is.  Why don’t I try to clear this all up with one succinct statement, specifically: we should hold the Constitution to be the law of the land, and any time we want to make amendments to it, we should follow the due process as set forth in that document.  What it is we think that the Founding Fathers supposedly intended is really immaterial; we should act now according to what’s right for us to do, which is, as always, that we should strive for more individual freedom to be had for everybody.

And what I’ve made mention of myriad times heretofore – to the point of making myself hoarse while so doing – is that the more such improvements preserve freedom, the more consistent the altered code of law for the country will be with the eternal truth of true joy (God’s happiness), which requires availability of freedom for people and their families.

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