Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Ten Reasons to Honor the Founders (That Most People Don't Think Of)

We all know the Founding Fathers had their flaws, some blameless in the context of their times (they didn't let women vote), some to be condemned even then (they practiced slavery, they had no regard for the Indians). But this is the Fourth of July, so let us remember some (often forgotten) things that make our Founders truly worth celebrating.

10. They include among them soldiers, writers, orators, politicians, diplomats, financiers and scientists, all of whom contributed in their own way.

9. They gave a fair trial (and acquittal) to the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre.

8. They have a fair trial (and acquittal) to Aaron Burr.

7. They hated each other's guts without cutting each other's heads off.

6. They had as many self-made men as later generations of Americans (they just didn't publicize it as much).

5. They knew how to use an ideology to guide the founding of a nation without being rigid or dogmatic.

4. They overthrew their first government (the Articles of Confederation) bloodlessly and semi-legally, with speeches and debate rather than fighting. This was unprecedented.

3. The states with trans-Mississippi claims ceded their vast lands to the federal government in exchange for admission of the West as states on equal terms with the original Thirteen. How often has there been such statesmanship?

2. By agreeing to admit the western states as equals, they laid the foundation for a vast empire that was not imperial, with no center and no periphery, no metropolis and no provinces, but all areas met on equal grounds.

1. At a time when it was believed popular government was impossible on an expanded scale, they defied all conventional wisdom and experience to that date and dared to dream. We are their vindication to this day.

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