The Founding Fathers, Capitalism & the GOP

I have just read an interesting article on the difference between the founding Fathers and Republicans.  In case you didn’t know, politicususa.com, the source of the article [1], is a left-wing organization and needs to be considered when reading. So of course, the article suggests the GOP is nothing like our Founding Fathers; yet we are yearning to return to those ideas.  Suggesting the support of capitalism by republicans is detrimental to the country and against our Founders’ intent.   In the rest of this article, I will illustrate exactly how much we have similar intents, but how the author completely misleads his readers concerning capitalism and corporatism. (And he throws in some insults for good measure.)

 

Republican lawmakers, pundits, and Tea Party patriots all claim a desire to return to the Founding Father’s view of America and a strict constitutional interpretation of governance in America.

 

Let’s begin:

For the record, Thomas Jefferson was elected President in 1800 (then re-elected in 1804) on the Republican ticket. This fact alone squashes any question of the similarity between the two.  So Thomas Jefferson, being a Republican himself, and a Founding Father, is not enough? Ok, I will continue.

Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, and of course Adam Smith were all capitalists. No, you say? How can they be capitalists when capitalism didn’t even exist back then? Isn’t Adam Smith considered the founder of modern day capitalism? Well, yes. In fact, Adam Smith published his well-known work “The Wealth of Nations” in 1776. So if the idea of capitalism didn’t really exist back then, what was there, only socialism? Or what did they call their economic structure? Well, you see before capitalism there was the idea of mercantilism. What’s that, isn’t that the same thing? Yes, for the most part. Remember though, giant multi-national corporations did not exist back then. There were nations, though they acted like corporations of today. It was each nation, and its generation of product that gave them their strength; much like products and services do for today’s corporations.

 

Mercantilism is an economic theory, thought to be a form of economic nationalism, that holds that the prosperity of a nation is dependent upon its supply of capital, and that the global volume of international trade is "unchangeable".[2]

 

Capitalism as we know it today developed after the Civil War. While we were still colonies though, the idea of capitalism was the governing force behind both the British and our Colonial economies. Remember, while the father of modern capitalism is Adam Smith, America still had its share of capitalistic minded men such as Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin. Our purpose in the colonies was primarily to provide material back to the British Empire, who in turn would manufacture goods for sale back to the colonies as well as to other nations. This system was known as the mercantile system, and today we call it capitalism. In that sense, Britain and America were capitalistic nations.

 

When Republicans, Teabags, and conservative groups claim they want the original intent of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, they should first learn what their intent was for America.

 

A quick history lesson for you Rmuse.  It was their intent to have an open and free market.  I will not allow you to vomit your foolishness all over the place without being corrected. Last I checked both Hamilton and Franklin were considered Founding Fathers. Much like the GOP today, they were in support of capitalism; or as the Founders called it Mercantilism.

Well Rmuse, you may never know their intent, but you could have certainly done your readers a favor and boned-up on some American history prior to publishing your story.  We can only study our history and use our Founders’ words to guide us forward. Remember too, our Founders would not approve of a bloated, tyrannical, ever-expanding government either.

 

Why else would Americans vote for people who act contrary to the intent of the Founders? Because they are lazy, ignorant, and think that because a group says what they want to hear, they will look out for their interests.

 

Actually, true Americans did vote for those candidates because they are not as far from the intentions of our Founder as you try to suggest. We are tired of “big government”. We are tired of “out of control” spending. We are tired of being taxed to the hilt. We are the 99% of America. We are neither “lazy nor ignorant”. Keep an American history book on your desk, so next time you get the urge to enlighten us. Don’t. Enlighten yourself instead, but keep your puke bucket next to your computer, just in case.

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Sadly, thewholebird.net was shut down before I ever got to see your reply. So, I am reposting my reply here because you were actually an entertaining debater.

I thoroughly agree. We are a nation with founding principals in capitalism. However, I would say, the founding father's were Libertarians rather than labeling them as Republicans (as the word has a different meaning today). I believe that Rumse was attempting to highlight the discrepancy between the principals/philosophies of the founding fathers and the general public's perception of what the founding fathers' principals were.

Many of our founding father's were Deist rather than Christian and tended to view organized religion as a threat. They believed that men had the right to any religious beliefs, but that religion was to be walled off from the government (Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin were big supporters of this ideal). That is not to say they did not view religion as being important. Franklin advocated there being some religion to provide a moral code, but he did not seem to really care which one. Adam's stated on the Treat of Tripoli that we were not a nation founded on Christianity and had no issues against the Islamic faith. I believe Jefferson even tried to learn Arabic from his copy of the Quran.

Jefferson was also concerned with the emergence of an "aristocracy" forming from owners of wealthy corporations and how they may attempt break the laws of our new country. But, Jefferson also thought that American should have focused solely on agriculture.
The Fathers were mostly concerned with creating a government which had both the authority and ability to protect the rights of every individual from foreign and native attacks.

I would be curious to see what their opinion on the FDA would be. Although they were against government regulation, Adams was of the opinion that the public's education should be maintained at the public's expense and not from charitable individuals. Alexander Hamilton began blurring the lines of government interference with the creation of the First Bank. While there was not to be a large government, it is implied that some taxation was required from the people to provide services concerning the welfare of ever citizen equally.

The founding fathers were what appear to be social libertarians rather than highly religious individuals they are imagined as being. I believe the idea of the founding fathers as being highly religious really took hold in the 1950s with the inclusion of In God We Trust being officially added to currency. Which was during the whole Red Scare/Communist hate God period of incredibly tense US history.

What does all this mean for the GOP's back to basics plan? Nothing. The idea is to return to a strict constitutional interpenetration for the governing of America. Which means following only what is literally written in the constitution and not what perceptions and principals surround its creation.

What does that mean for the public? Who knows, but I would put money that the Democrats don't have a better idea.

The only thing I am sure of is that at least with the Republican party there won't be any shocking surprises, because they're always upfront with their plans even if you don't agree with them. You know the regulations and morals they are going to enforce. Unlike the Democrat's who promise all kinds of freedom: freedom of speech, freedom of action, freedom of opinions. Yeah, freedom till you say something they don't like or isn't part of some new P.C. guideline, and then they're all over you telling you how you can't do that.
I am tired of all these Democrats vs Republican debates. We're so polarized that no matter who wins the other side will do their best to roadblock everything regardless of an ideas merits.

I say we all pray for the 2012 Armageddon. We won't have to worry about the economy or fixing morals. Also, we get the awesome bonus of going to heaven with the best death story out of everyone else up there.

It is the close of your article that I resonate with the most. Where do we draw the lines on government size and appropriate spending? Obviously, there has to be some government and taxitation. Much as how religious individuals say we need a set list of morals and enforcement to ensure people's spiritual welfare: so, too do we need government and taxation to protect people's physical welfare.

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