The Founders of this country understood many of today's problems, because they were problems then, too. History repeats itself.
I’ve read over two-dozen books on the Founders and Founding of our nation. It’s my favorite subject to read. This reading eventually led me to the belief that very few of these men would fit into either of the two major political parties today. In fact, most of them hated the very idea of parties in the first place, and the bulk of the more famous Founders only created and joined parties after their political opponents started some. That’s how we ended up with the Federalists (started by Alexander Hamilton) and their opposition in response (originally called by many names, including the Democrats, the Republicans, the Jeffersonians, and eventually the “Democratic-Republicans”).
The Founders largely believed that parties created division based on rooting for your “team” and lessened our ability to have meaningful public discourse. Look around. Think they were right? I do.
Truthfully, they were right a lot. They were flawed men, but they were students of history, largely inspired by the Enlightenment philosophers, and they had an incredibly solid understanding of how best to balance the rights of the people against the rules and laws of government.
It might surprise many of you to see some of these very real quotes I’ve attached here (I made them, so I encourage you to download them and share them with your friends and followers.) Thomas Jefferson in particular wrote in favor of a graduated tax – a tax that increases as the wealth of the subject increases – but also wrote against such an idea when it was something that was going to affect him directly. Like I said, these men weren’t perfect, and nobody likes paying taxes. But when he was not biased by his own self-interest, I think he came up with the right answers much of the time, as did many of our other Founders. Jefferson also frequently spoke up against slavery (and even attempted to outlaw it more than once in government), but he still didn’t release his slaves...
Most of the Founders agreed that inherited titles, such as in the monarchy they were opposing, were wrong. The man on our $100 bill, Ben Franklin, believed there was very little difference between inherited titles and inherited wealth, and he wasn’t alone on that. Even Jefferson – who only became a prominent businessman through inheritance himself – once wrote that perpetuation of property is “contrary to good policy.”
While I don’t believe that inheritance is wrong or bad, I do believe that everybody in our society should be encouraged to participate, and I also believe that such wealth can shield certain people from much of what ails the society around them. No longer being able to identify with the common man, sometimes they can find themselves in opposition to the solutions the common man is so desperately seeking. This can lead to a state of opposition in general, sometimes leading to the rich being viewed by the common people as evil; and that, historically speaking, never really ends well. Our Founders wrote about this, and I agree.
I don’t believe in any sort of dogmatic adherence to the thoughts or beliefs of this nation’s Founders. Blind adherence to tradition favors the wishes of the dead over the needs of the living. But I do believe that since they are the minds behind the foundation of this country, their thoughts should always be considered. Some things have changed a lot in the last couple-hundred years. Many things have not.