Were the Founding Fathers Democratic Reformers?
After reading both view points of John P. Roche and Howard Zinn, I felt like there were more things to back up the arguments made by Zinn, which is one of the reasons why I think that the founding fathers were not in fact democratic reformers. The founding fathers were wealthy statesmen who worked for the best of their interests to preserve their wealth.
Howard Zinn's writing discusses the American Revolution, putting military actions in social and cultural context. On one hand, forming a militia quickly was possible because so many colonists were armed. On the other hand, the new nation soon started forcing sailors to join the war, which had been one of the complaints against the British. Period observers noted that military leaders such as George Washington reinforced strict class hierarchies, and the Continental Congress that came together to write the new nation's laws was overwhelming made up of the rich, leaving the same men in power as had been in charge in the colonies. Once the revolution was won, Americans assumed they could take Indian lands to the west. Many discharged soldiers were not paid, or were paid in devalued currency, and the result was riots.
Roche's thesis is that the Founding Fathers were essentially good people and that the framing of the constitution was a fairly democratic process that equally addressed state, economical, and political interests. He says that we should give them credit for the great job that they did. The Philadelphia Convention had to work very hard in order to make everyone happy. They had to do their best to achieve political equality for all the citizens while still addressing all the delicate issues necessary. He goes on to say that although the framers themselves were an elite class of people, they still had the interests of the people at heart. They knew that the Articles of Confederation were too weak and a stronger type...
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