15 Ways the Founding Fathers Disagree with Today's GOP Anything

15 Ways the Founding Fathers Disagree with Today's GOP

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Republicans often invoke the intentions of the Founding Fathers in order to justify their party's platform. Although the views of the Founders were varied and diverse, many Republicans claim to know exactly what these men intended, which seems like a factual impossibility. The GOP often insists that America is on the verge of destruction, since some of its citizens, as well as its Democratic leaders, are straying from the Founders' intentions.

But are we really going off the path the Founding Fathers set for the United States of America? And do today's Republicans have the slightest clue as to what the Founders's beliefs really were? Read on to learn more about how much the Founding Fathers would disagree with the Republican Party of today, on topics ranging from marijuana to gun control.

What are the ways that the Founding Fathers would disagree with today's Republicans? How would the Founding Fathers feel about gay marriage? Or medical marijuana? Or tax breaks? Would any of the Founders agree with modern Republicans? Take a look at this list and you'll see. 

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  1. Separation of Church and State

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    Today's Republican Party
    Today's Republican Party seems to talk as much about God as it does govern. Trump Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence signed Indiana's controversial "religious freedom" law, which would have given businesses the ability to refuse services based on religious beliefs, then said in his 2016 state of the state address, “I will not support any bill that diminished the religious freedom of Hoosiers or that interferes with the constitutional rights of our citizens to live out their beliefs in worship, service or work. … No one should ever fear persecution because of their deeply held religious beliefs.” Even though he tried to pass a law that pretty did exactly what he was talking about not doing.

    Ironically, the other God of the modern GOP, Ronald Reagan, firmly believed in staunch separation between church and state. 

    The Founding Fathers
    Did the Founding Fathers believe that God had a role in government? Perhaps Thomas Jefferson's words are best here: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State." -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT, 1/1/1802

  2. Same Sex Marriage

    Same Sex Marriage is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 15 Ways the Founding Fathers Disagree with Today's GOP
    Photo: Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Today's Republican Party
    In 2003, Rick Santorum said that "In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be." Maybe it's not fair to bring up a 2003 comment? Well, finding Republicans who oppose gay marriage is like shooting fish in a barrel. Even though Donald Trump might be considered our most LGBT friendly republican, that's not really saying a lot. Especially since his running mate, Mike Pence, has gone out of his way to make anyone who isn't a straight white male into a second class citizen. 

    The Founding Fathers
    Admittedly, the Founding Fathers did not advocate same-sex marriage - it wasn't an issue in 1776. Being a product of their times, when they wrote "All men are created equal," they meant all land-owning white males. But the Founding Fathers did believe in the equality of all citizens. Alexander Hamilton wrote that “I desire above all things to see the equality of political rights exclusive of all hereditary distinction firmly established by a practical demonstration of its being consistent with the order and happiness of society.” Now that being a land-owning white male isn't necessary in order to enjoy all of the rights enshrined in the Constitution, the Founding Fathers' precepts apply to LGBT citizens as well.

  3. High Taxes

    High Taxes is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 15 Ways the Founding Fathers Disagree with Today's GOP
    Photo: Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

    Today's Republican Party
    Republican Senator Scott Brown said "the wet blanket of high taxation and over-regulation smothers everything that has made America the greatest country in the history of mankind." Republicans tout that they offer less government and lower taxes. They may have to cut a few social programs in order to lower taxes, but so be it.

    Here's Paul Ryan to explain things: "Our budget offers a better path, consistent with the timeless principles of our nation’s founding and, frankly, consistent with how I understand my Catholic faith. We put our trust in people, not in government. Our budget incorporates subsidiarity by returning power to individuals, to families and to communities." and "The problem we have is spending, not taxes. We’ve got to get our spending under control because that’s the root cause of our problem."

    The 2016 GOP Presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has gone so far as to suggest that America breaks into four tax brackets, each one of which will receive a cut from Obama rates. Which sounds good, but the people who benefit most from his plan are the top earners, who would get an average annual tax cut of $275,000. If you're just a regular working stiff, you might save about $969 a year. All in all, Trump's plan reduces Federal tax revenue by $545 billion. 

    The Founding Fathers
    Would the Founders agree with this GOP philosophy? Let's see. Benjamin Franklin wrote that "All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it." Cutting taxes, even if it means gutting social programs? Nope, Ben's not a fan.

  4. Free Markets and Regulation

    Free Markets and Regulation is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 15 Ways the Founding Fathers Disagree with Today's GOP
    Photo:  Executive Office of the President of the United States/Public Domain

    Today's Republican Party
    If there's one thing the GOP loathes, it's regulation. Republicans believe an unregulated free market can solve all problems, including alleviating poverty. In a speech during the RNC, Donald Trump said, "The greatest job killer of them all is government regulation to the tune of two trillion dollars per year." Which apparently isn't true. 

    The Founding Fathers
    Were the Founding Fathers huge fans of an unfettered market? Um, no. Here's Thomas Jefferson on banks: "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies" John Adams believed that "property monopolized or in possession of a few is a curse to mankind." Ben Franklin went even further, writing that: "no man ought to own more property than needed for his livelihood; the rest, by right, belonged to the state." I think it's safe to say all of them believed that free markets require a great deal of regulation in order to meet people's needs.

  5. Christianity and Religious Freedom in America

    Christianity and Religious Fre... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 15 Ways the Founding Fathers Disagree with Today's GOP
    Photo: Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

    Today's Republican Party
    Some Republicans have decided that the Founding Fathers wanted a Christian nation. Valerie Hodges, a Republican in Louisiana, voted for school vouchers for this reason: "I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America's Founding Fathers' religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools." She was less than pleased to realize a voucher program could also provide funds for pupils to attend Muslim schools.

    Not to be outdone, Donald Trump has called for the outright ban of Muslims from America, which seems to be a request made more out of fear of the unknown than any kind of factual knowledge of world religions. Thankfully multiple republicans have called out the Donald for the idiocy of his statements. 

    The Founding Fathers
    The Founding Fathers were Christians, but they didn't want to create a country that was solely Christian. Besides the obvious mention of the First Amendment and its declaration that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," the 1796 Treaty of Tripoli stated that "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

    The treaty was signed by President John Adams, certified Founding Father. Can you imagine the outcry on Fox News if a President signed a treaty containing that phrase today?

  6. Civil Society and the Common Good

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    Today's Republican Party
    Even though it happened back in 2012, Mitt Romney's take on people who accept government help is still essential viewing for anyone who wants to understand that the modern Republican party has nothing to do the Republican party of our forefathers: "All right, there are 47 percent who are...dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it."

    Things haven't changed much since the 2012 election. Even though Donald Trump doesn't have any voting record to speak of, his running mate Mike Pence has been a long time opponent of social spending. In 2015, Pence cut off food stamps to more than 18,000 unemployed adults in Indiana, and in 2014 he said that cutting food stamps would, "make sure that able-bodied adults know that here in the state of Indiana we want to partner with them in their success."

    The Founding Fathers
    The Founding Fathers believed that citizens of the United States should work together as a community. John Adams felt that "Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people." The common good usually includes making sure that men, women, and children have enough to eat. But you know that if a leading light of today's GOP heard the words of Adams today, his first thought would be "Socialism!"

  7. Today's Republican Party
    As an increasing number of state are deciding it doesn't make sense to keep medical marijuana out of the hands of sick people, others seriously debate legalization. The Republican Party, naturally, doesn't agree. Newt Gingrich argued against such a course by saying, "I think Jefferson or George Washington would have rather strongly discouraged you from growing marijuana and their techniques with dealing with it would have been rather more violent than our current government." 

    As you can imagine, Donald Trump has strong opinions on the matter. Interviewed by Bill O'Reilly on Fox News, Trump lobbed this strongly worded treatise on marijuana: "In some ways, I think it’s good and in other ways, it’s bad.”

    The Founding Fathers
    In reality (something Newt Gingrich is more out of touch with than most), Jefferson and Washington both grew hemp on their farms. Violent techniques by the Founding Fathers to eradicate crops they themselves were growing? Doesn't seem likely.

  8. The Importance of Scientific Reason

    Today's Republican Party
    Governor of Texas and former presidential candidate Rick Perry has stated that evolution is "a theory that is out there - and it's got some gaps in it." Perry is, by far, not the only Republican to dismiss evolution. Perry also has his doubts about global warming. As you might imagine Mike Pence, the super catholic governor of Indiana, has a thing or two to say about science. When Chris Matthews asked Pence about global warming, he said, "I think the science is very mixed on the subject of global warming, Chris. In the mainstream media, Chris, there is a denial of the growing skepticism in the scientific community about global warming."

    If you're wondering what Pence thinks about evolution, well, here it is: "I believe with all my heart that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that is in them... How he did that, I’ll ask him about some day.” 

    The Founding Fathers
    Both evolution and climate change are theories that have been accepted as fact by all leading scientific minds. The GOP has no problem sweeping aside scientific consensus. But Thomas Jefferson, who wrote that "Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error," wouldn't agree. Benjamin Franklin has the wisest words on this matter: "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." The Founding Fathers would never accept the dismissal of scientific process that today's GOP has embraced.

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