Anarres 2 cooperative community

August 18, 2014

Founding Fathers were progressive utopians

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ed @ 2:41 am

I was commenting on a FB discussion about the “founding fathers” of the American revolution, and I thought this might be worth sharing here (I’ve improved my original post a little):

“The freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, the idea that people were equal, and could govern themselves, through elections, without a King, and the idea that people had a RIGHT to rebel against unjust governments, were all extremely radical, even utopian, in the 1700’s.”

The conservatives (aka the Tories), who supported King George’s right to rule over his subjects at bayonet point, impose whatever decrees he liked, and eventually pass on almost absolute power to his children, bugged out for Canada, the Bahamas or back to Britain for the most part.

But I’m sure that most people fell somewhere in between, and hoped that things could be worked out in a rational way, without resorting to violence. That is always the best option, of course, but for some reason it rarely happens, and serious negotiations don’t take place until lots of blood has been shed. Wise up, humanity. We don’t all have to do things the same way.

At least one historian agrees that the Founders were progressive radicals:

“Americans had come to believe that the Revolution promised nothing less than a massive reordering of their lives—a reordering summed up in the conception of republicanism. This republicanism was in every way a radical ideology—as radical in the eighteenth century as Marxism was to be for the nineteenth century. It meant more than simply eliminating a king and establishing an elective system of government. It added a moral and idealistic dimension to the political separation from England—a dimension that promised a fundamental shift in values and a change in the very character of American society.” Gordon S. Wood, “The American Revolution”


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