Why We Should Stop Talking About the Founding Fathers


The following guest post is by David Sehat, associate professor of history at Georgia State University and author most recently of The Jefferson Rule: How the Founding Fathers Became Infallible and Our Politics Inflexible.

On the night of his 2012 presidential victory, Barack Obama stood in front of a large crowd at McCormick Place to rejoice in the prospect of four more years. The speech was in many ways unremarkable. He thanked his wife, his daughters, his campaign, the American people. He pledged to finish what he started four years before. And in looking forward to four more years, he simultaneously looked backward. Way back. “I believe we can keep the promise of our founders,” he told his audience, “the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, or what you look like.”

That Obama referenced the Founders was not unexpected. It’s what politicians do. I only remember this instance because I happened to be writing a book on the way the Founders get used in political debate. And yet, even though I was prepared for a general reference to the Founders, I was astounded by the specifics of the comment.

Read more at http://s-usih.org/2015/05/why-we-should-stop-talking-about-the-founding-fathers.html#comment-34186


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