Why It is Crucial to Defend the Founding Fathers
I recently read an interesting article in the New Criterion that was forwarded to me by my dad. The article, written by Myron Magnet and entitled “The Founders’ priceless legacy,” was about the views of the Founding Fathers and how their foresight created such an amazing American system. It is a terrific article and I highly recommend that you read it.
However, in my view, it missed one important aspect. That aspect is why it is important to defend the Founding Fathers. Yes, Magnet does describe a few of the attempts to slander them and notes that the claim that Washington committed genocide was false. But, in my view, the article does not go far enough in defending the legacy of the Founding Fathers, it just states what that legacy is and what they did well.
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I think that was a crucial error; Americans can’t just know who the Founding Fathers were and some of the good things they did. We can’t just know about Washington crossing the Delaware, Jefferson buying Louisiana and writing the Declaration, Madison writing the Constitution, and Madison and Hamilton writing most of The Federalist Papers. Yes, those achievements were significant and were some of the most important parts of the bedrock of Western Civilization.
But just knowing that is not enough. We also have to stand up and defend the Founding Fathers from the attacks launched against them. Here’s how I would do so.
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Allegation 1: The Founding Fathers owned slaves.
Their ownership of slaves does not mean we should ignore their many accomplishments; while evil, slavery was a facet of life in the South at the time and all of the Founders recognized it as evil and economically disastrous. Additionally, the Constitution built in a mechanism that prevented the importation of slaves and Madison hoped that once importation was banned, the wretched system would eventually die off.
Allegation 2: They were elitists and should be forgotten because of that.
America was a hierarchical system and, frankly, that probably worked better than the purely egalitarian system of today because humans are naturally hierarchical beings and it is better to have Mr. Jefferson’s aristocracy of talent than the current system of the aristocracy of pull. You can defend the Founding Fathers by explaining that to leftists that want to erase our memory of the great men who built this nation.
Allegation 3: They committed genocide against the Indians.
Wrong. Some fought wars over territory with the Indians; Washington certainly did during the French and Indian War. But, once America was free from British rule, we did not carry out campaigns of genocide. We just fought wars over territory as humans have for millennia.
Additionally, the Founders often tried to strike peace deals with the Indians. Jefferson lauded them as noble savages and wanted to preserve their culture. Washington brought Cherokees to the capital and tried to strike a deal with them. Lewis and Clark worked with Native Americans on their journey across Louisiana. Relations with the Indians were never great. But calling our wars with them “genocide” is a bad-faith simplification.
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Allegation 4: The system that they created is inherently racist.
Again, wrong. The people in the system Madison created took a long time to live up to and believe in the “all men are created equal” line of the Declaration of Independence. But the system itself is not racist. Far from it, in fact.
Rather than being a system founded on inherited privilege, it was a system premised on individual achievement and self-advancement. What system could be better for lifting up previously oppressed groups? America is not a racist country and our system is not a racist one. Defend the Founding Fathers by making that point forcefully and frequently.
Allegation 5: Remembering and honoring the Founding Fathers means that we’re honoring slavery or other past sins.
Once again, wrong. When we honor the Founding Fathers with statues, paintings, books, movies, or speeches, we are not saying that slavery was a good thing. That is absurd. I challenge you to find a single person who wants to memorialize Washington because Washington owned slaves. No, when we honor their memory, we are honoring their contribution to the American system. To continue being able to honor that contribution, we first must defend the Founding Fathers.
Washington won our freedom with his generalship and preserved it by becoming president. That’s why he is so important and is memorialized.
Jefferson wrote the Declaration, doubled the size of the US, avoided war with England and France, and proved that peaceful transfers of power could take place under our system. That’s why we defend and honor him.
John Marshall established the supremacy of the Supreme Court and helped lead the early republic through a series of trials and tribulations with his wise rulings. That is what we’re honoring.
Madison wrote the Constitution and defended it in The Federalist Papers. He fought the war of 1812 and ensured the preservation of the nation during that struggle.
And so on and so forth. The Founding Fathers were humans. They had faults. But what they did is worth memorializing and honoring. Their memory must be not only preserved, but also defended. Americans, especially conservative Americans, must defend the Founding Fathers.
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I’ve read a huge number of books about the Founding Fathers and early America. While I know that I still have much to learn, I also know that Americans must defend the Founding Fathers. Remembering what they did, as President Trump’s 1776 Commission will help us do, is not enough. We must also defend them from the attacks launched against them.
The fact is, the left hates Western civilization and wants to eradicate the memory of the Founding Brothers. They tear down statues, demand paintings and murals be hidden, and besmirch the names of the great men who built this nation and made it what it is.
Conservatives have a duty to defend the Founding Fathers. It is only with their memory in mind that we can continue to preserve the nation that they built. But to be able to know what they did, we must first defend them so that the left can’t eradicate their memory. That is why I think it is important to defend them and why simply stating what they did is not enough.
By: Gen Z Conservative
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