US History 143
26 October 2012
Were the Founding Fathers Democratic Reformers?
In Issue Seven in the book Taking Sides, John P. Roche and Howard Zinn provide their views about whether or not the founding Fathers were democratic reformers. Between these two arguments, the no case that Howard Zinn represents is more convincing because it provides more evidence. John P. Roche contends that the founding Fathers were absolutely and fully democratic reformers and that they created a Constitution in order to benefit to the nation but at the same time was considered tolerable by the people. Howard Zinn gives more accompanying evidence as to why the founding Fathers were not democratic reformers but rather, a select group of wealthy slaveholders who wanted to design a strong central government that would protect the property rights of the rich.
John P. Roche gives his case that proposes that the form of the Constitution was simply a representative development involving a compromise of the interests of the state, economy, and governmental concentrations. In John P. Roche’s argument he states that the government was as democratic as possible: “My concern is with the further position that not only were they revolutionaries, but also they were democrats. Indeed, in my view, there is one fundamental truth about the Founding Fathers…: They were first and foremost superb democratic politicians…”. He continues by stating that what they did was create a practical compromise that would support both the national interest and be something that the people would agree with. They started with the Virginia plan that proposed a bicameral legislative branch. This would give states representation based on proportionate population. They also considered the New Jersey Plan. This plan proposed a single house legislative where any state, regardless of size, would have the same representation. John P. Roche puts forth his thoughts that the founding Fathers...