Founding Fathers

I've started another goal - quite lofty to me and many of you - but important nonetheless. I started it before I began my Master's degree, but I had to put it away because I couldn't keep up with the intensity and focus it required.

I've set a goal of reading all of the presidential biographies. I'm on number 3.

The reason - As an American citizen, it is my responsibility to be informed about my country - where it has been and where it is going. And honestly - I wish more people felt that way.

Maybe then there wouldn't be so many educated Americans who aren't registered to vote or who don't vote even though they are registered.

I started with George Washington and was very intrigued about the life he lived outside of the Office of the Presidency. Washington created his wealth - it wasn't handed down to him by past generations. Instead of receiving money for surveyor work, he asked for land, making him one of the wealthiest landowners in Virginia. He did in fact marry into some of his wealth when he married Martha Custis. He was compassionate and cared for his slaves - many times sacrificing his own health to take care of theirs. He denied a salary when he was General of the Continental Army because it was too much of a burden to the American people (I wonder if anyone in office would do that now?). And then, when asked to be king - he denied it.

John Adams was an eloquent orator and brilliant lawyer - sacrificing his career to defend the British soldiers who fired against the Patriots in the Boston Massacre - risking his family and his reputation on what he knew was right.

Thomas Jefferson - though labeled a Democrat - would in fact be a modern day conservative - opposed to National Debt -he fought against it saying that a nation that accrued debt would then lead to a nation full of corruption and war. The author of one of the most important documents to our nation, that so many in Congress have forgotten about - the Declearation of Independence.

He penned the words, "That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

These 3 men, along with others, founded our nation on principals that are fading into the background.

These 3 men were not professional politicians, in fact, they resented that title and position.

These 3 men were elected by their peers to REPRESENT America. They understood the job set before them was to speak for us, not as us.

These 3 men understood when they signed the Declaration of Independence they were risking their lives and their reputations.

These 3 men understood that if they voted against the voices of their constituents, it was a vote AGAINST America.

Below is a video from the John Adams mini-series. I showed it to my 4th graders a few weeks ago when we were discussing the founding of our nation. As it played, even my 4th graders recognized the importance of the founding principals. They sat in silence as each Congressmen cast a vote - a vote that was determined, not by them, but by their people.

I wonder how many of those who cast a vote tonight in direct opposition to their constitutent base remember who they represent?

So, if I need to embrace my inner nerd to embrace my American heritage, then so be it!


Shonda said…
What books/authors are reading? I'm interested in doing that too.