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

Nowadays, 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. The GOP also 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 that the Founding Fathers set for the United States of America? And do today's Republicans have the slightest clue as to what the Founders' beliefs really were? Read on to learn more about how much the Founding Fathers would disagree with the Republican Party of today.

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. 1

    Separation of Church and State

    Today's Republican Party
    Today's Republican Party talks more about God than about actually governing. Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan has said that "Our rights come from nature and god, not from government. That’s who we are. That’s how we built this country." His running mate, Mitt Romney, believes that the Founders weren't for the "the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation ‘Under God, ‘and in God, we do indeed trust."

    Listen to Reagan!

    The Founding Fathers
    Did the Founding Fathers believe that God had a role in government? Perhaps Jefferson's own words would be 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. 2

    Same Sex Marriage

    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. It is one thing." 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. During a Republican presidential candidate debate, Mitt Romney said that John Adams would be surprised by the legalization of same-sex marriage. Even the GOP platform calls for banning gay marriage. These days, Santorum is still against same-sex marriage, though he now compares it to polygamy instead of bestiality and pedophilia. Progress?

    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 (much to the GOP's dismay) 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. 3

    Religious Test for Public Office

    Today's Republican Party
    If you're a Muslim and would like to serve your country as a government official, the GOP would like you to go the extra mile to prove where your loyalties lie. Michele Bachmann spent the summer trying to root out members of the Muslim Brotherhood who she felt had infiltrated the U.S. government. When given a chance to denounce her, Mitt Romney said, "I’m not going to tell other people what things to talk about." Herman Cain wanted Muslims to swear their loyalty to the Constitution before he would consider them for office, "[b]ecause there is a greater dangerous part of the Muslim faith than there is in these other religions."

    The Founding Fathers
    Mitt and the rest of the GOP need to realize that not only are they being prejudiced, they're completely contradicting the Founders' intentions. Here it is in the Constitution: "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." Very straightforward. Even Michele Bachmann should be able to understand it.

  4. 4

    High Taxes

    Today's Republican Party
    Republican Senator Scott Brown has said that "the wet blanket of high taxation and overregulation smothers everything that has made America the greatest country in the history of mankind." Republicans tout that they offer the country a clear choice of 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 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.

  5. 5

    Free Markets and Regulation

    Today's Republican Party
    If there's one thing the GOP loathes, it's regulation. Republicans believe that an unregulated free market can solve all problems, from alleviating poverty to curing disease to making the love of your life finally respond to your text messages. Mitt Romney said that "Free enterprise has done more to lift people out of poverty, to help build a strong middle class, to help educate our kids, and to make our lives better than all the programs of government combined."

    The Founding Fathers
    Were the Founding Fathers also 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.

  6. 6

    Christianity in America

    Today's Republican Party
    Some Republicans have also 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 (gasp!).

    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?

  7. 7

    Civil Society and the Common Good

    Today's Republican Party
    Here is Mitt Romney's take on people who accept government help: "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."

    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!"

  8. 8

    Today's Republican Party
    This is a good one. More and more states are deciding that it doesn't make any sense to keep medical marijuana out of the hands of sick people, and others have started to 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."

    The Founding Fathers
    In reality--something Newt Gingrich is more out of touch with than most potheads--Jefferson and Washington both grew hemp on their farms. Violent techniques by the Founding Fathers to eradicate crops they themselves were growing? I don't think so.

  9. 9

    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. Naturally, Perry is not alone is this belief either; before its Convention, the GOP actually attacked Obama for mentioning climate change as a severe threat.

    The Founding Fathers
    Both evolution and climate change are theories that have been tested and evaluated to the point that they are 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 so handily embraced.

  10. 10

    The Federal Reserve

    Today's Republican Party
    Ron Paul wants to get rid of the Federal Reserve to line up with what he thinks the Founding Fathers intended. Newt Gingrich channeled the thoughts of the Founding Fathers to say: “Since I’m a historian who’s written a whole series of books about the Founding Fathers, I would think that they had the better grasp consistently and that’s why I would substantially reduce the power of the Federal Reserve.”

    At least it's clear how he feels

    The Founding Fathers
    Many of the Founding Fathers supported a powerful central bank. George Washington was swayed by Alexander Hamilton's argument that "power vested in a government is in its nature sovereign, and includes by force of the term a right to employ all the means requisite . . . to the attainment of the ends of such power" and the Federal Reserve was born. Some Founding Fathers may have been unsure, but Hamilton never wavered, so Newt is definitely wrong to say all of them had the same intentions. Maybe he should check his history degree, or just stop using the words "I'm a historian." He's not a good one.

  11. 11

    Health Care Mandate

    Today's Republican Party
    Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are campaigning in part by vowing to repeal "Obamacare." Speaker of the House John Boehner also opposes Obamacare, saying it "will bankrupt our country and ruin the best health care delivery system in the world." Ron Paul doesn't support the mandate either:

    The Founding Fathers
    Would the Founding Fathers object to Obamacare? President John Adams signed the healthcare law "An Act for the relief of sick and disabled seamen," which authorized the government to collect "the rate of twenty cents per month for every seaman" which would be used to "provide for the temporary relief and maintenance of sick, or disabled seamen." Sounds like a healthcare mandate to me.

  12. 12

    Infallible Founding Fathers

    Today's Republican Party
    When Elena Kagan was nominated to take a seat on the Supreme Court, one line of attack the Republican National Committee launched was: "Does Kagan Still View Constitution 'As Originally Drafted And Conceived' As 'Defective'?" Hmm, can anyone think of a flaw in the original Constitution? Anyone? Oh, yes, there was at least one flaw: slavery.

    Yes, Elena Kagan, the GOP's views can be very funny

    The Founding Fathers
    Admittedly, the Constitution was drawn up by men who were residents of their own time, which meant they were willing to compromise on things like slavery. However, they recognized that they were fallible and put in a process through which the Constitution could be changed. In the words of Alexander Hamilton: "Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things." For example, I think we can all agree that abolishing slavery and offering equal rights for all men and women were positive changes to a flawed Constitution.

  13. 13


    Today's Republican Party
    Rick Perry has said that Texas might consider dropping out of America: "There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that." Ron Paul also thinks states should reserve the right to just ignore laws they'd rather not have: "In principle, nullification is proper and moral and constitutional...That is why I am a strong endorser of the nullification movement, that states like this should just nullify these laws."

    Rick Perry thinks seceding is fun!

    The Founding Fathers
    I think the validity of Rick Perry's idea was answered by the Civil War, but in case that's not enough, James Madison wrote that allowing states to choose which laws to enforce and which to ignore would "altogether distract the Govt. of the Union & speedily put an end to the Union itself." Case closed.

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