Brion McClanahan
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While Americans are busy enjoying ice cream, hot dogs, cold drinks, and fireworks on July 4, I’m sure very few consider the following questions: What would the Founding Fathers say about the modern United States, and what is the meaning of independence? Certainly the United States would not be here without the Founders, the greatest generation in American history, but perhaps a better way of answering the questions is by simply considering whether the United States is the federal republic of the Founders’ design or has it been “remade” as Barack Obama continues to suggest.

The dichotomy between the Founders’ republic and the federal leviathan in Washington D.C. could not be more pronounced than it is in 2009. The Founding Fathers would all be considered conservatives today, even the most ardent centralizers in the bunch. They recognized the need for government, but with few exceptions believed in local and state sovereignty and as little government as possible. They would not have accepted the rash of federal bailouts—or in many cases central banking in general (the FED)—or modern welfare capitalism and the public debt that accompanies hundreds of “social” programs designed to redistribute wealth. They seceded from the British government in part because of unconstitutional (and miniscule by modern standards) taxes and would be appalled by the current level of taxation in America on all levels of government. They were a God-fearing generation jealous of individual liberty and believed through their understanding of history that without constitutional restraint government could be the most dangerous enemy of liberty and freedom. They would have been wary of the unconstitutional powers of the modern executive branch and would have been suspicious of a man who promised “Hope and Change.” As Benjamin Franklin said, “He who lives on hope will die fasting.”

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Brion McClanahan

Brion McClanahan is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers.