Weird History

15 Ways the Founding Fathers Disagree with Today's GOP  

Sara Kate
65.4k views 15 items

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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Christianity and Religious Freedom in America
Christianity and Religio... 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?

Civil Society and the Common Good
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Video: YouTube

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!"

Cannabis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 15 Ways the Founding Fathers Disagree with Today's GOP
Photo:  Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

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.

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The Importance of Scientific Reason
The Importance of Scient... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 15 Ways the Founding Fathers Disagree with Today's GOP
Photo:  Roger H Goun/Creative Commons

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.