Founding Fathers Were Liberal

It seems that conservatives have kidnapped the legacies of our founding fathers. It's nearly universally accepted that the men who founded the United States, particularly the drafters of our constitution were all conservatives. But, as with Jesus -- popular opinion has been misled. The truth is that our founders were quite liberal.

First, there is the obvious point that they were revolutionaries. The conservatives at the time of our nation's founding were called Tories.

Now, it is true that the first "federal" government our founders created was quite small. It was created by the Articles of Confederation. That government failed because the states were too powerful and and the federal government, uniting the states, too weak. So, the constitution was drafted creating a much stronger, central, federal government. The 10th Amendment specifically limited the national government to its enumerated powers, with any other powers being retained by the States and the people.

Still, those who drafted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were far more "liberal" than their contemporaries. The Federalist Papers and other historical evidence indicate that the drafters were adept at compromise. They were intelligent individuals who knew enough to draft a constitution with flexible and broad language -- that would allow the federal government to grow as needed -- if the political branches of government (Congress and President -- elected by the people) thought it desirable.

The very essence of what the founders did was create a democratic government of unprecedented federal power and authority over formerly independent and free states. The "conservatives" of that time railed against the power and authority the states were ceding due to the actions of our founding fathers.

The preamble to the constitution provides insight into the framers state of mind and intent:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

So, the people were forming a government (community) in order to form a more perfect union, common defense, establish justice, promote the general welfare, secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

All of those things are about "we" and "us" and "our" and "general welfare" and "establishment of justice." Those are all fundamentally liberal concepts. They have a different emphasis than conservative principles which emphasize individual liberty and individual freedom.

Conservatives would not have been at the constitutional convention at all, or if they were, they would have argued to keep the articles of confederation or maybe even disband those and be twelve independent countries.

So, you see, our founding document itself is a spectacularly liberal document (especially for its time) written to provide a framework for a federal government, a community of citizens, to do all sorts of liberal things -- all focused on enhancing the common good.

Common Good = Political Liberal = Intent of Constitution

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