Who is your favorite Founding Father, and why?

Discussion in 'Revolutionary War' started by skyblue, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. skyblue

    skyblue Active Member

    Who is your favorite Founding Father? What factors into your choice? I'll start with a vote for Benjamin Franklin. He led a fascinating life and his general philosophy of anti-authoritarianism in politics and his obvious embrace of reason make him stellar, in my opinion. So, who do you all select and why?
  2. Vercingetorix

    Vercingetorix Member

    Good choice, skyblue. Other notable qualities about Franklin include his sense of humor and his scientific accomplishments.

    Franklin's sense of humor is shown in many of his publications, such as the article he wrote about why it was better to have an affair with an older woman rather than a younger one. He also enjoyed creating characters and having them "write in" to his papers and have bitter feuds and disagreements. He knew what he was doing, readers love reading about disagreements and arguments. Franklin's scientific acumen is shown by his invention of the Franklin stove and the lightning rod. He truly was a renaissance man.

    Since you've already drafted Franklin, I'm going to go with Alexander Hamilton. Much maligned as an elitist or an aristocrat, I think Hamilton actually was a far-sighted visionary who was misunderstood in his own time. In my opinion Jefferson's ideal of a virtuous agrarian republic was barely plausible at the time that he wrote of it, and has not held up well over the years. By contrast, Hamilton understood the benefits of manufacturing and a diversified economy. He also understood how a national debt could be used to entice foreign powers to align themselves to the interests of the United States.
  3. skyblue

    skyblue Active Member

    Oh, don't be so hard on Jefferson. I think his ideals are having something of a resurgence at this very moment in time. Not the agrarian part but rather the virtuous republic parts, as you put it, and I don't mean religious when I say virtuous.

    My main problem with Hamilton was his support for a rather larger federal government than I would prefer and I think we might have gotten off to a better start without the state's debt being incurred by the Federal Government. I recently heard that he purposed that the President be in power for life! How is that different from a King? When I think of him, it just doesn't seem like he embodies the American spirit, but rather was politically tilted toward a tyrannical and all-powerful centrally controlled government. Kind of like the one we have now.

    By the way, he enjoys some support today as you are the second person on this forum to defend him vigorously! So, I don't really know what you mean by "much maligned." As far as the intricacies of his economic policies, I haven't studied them that closely but from your comment it sounds like more government meddling in the economy and picking the winners and losers using crony capitalism, which I am not for.
  4. skyblue

    skyblue Active Member

    I do completely agree with all you say about Benjamin Franklin and his varied interests and talents. I recently read his autobiography and found him to be a most interesting man. I recommend it for anyone wanting to gain knowledge about one of our most fascinating founders.
  5. Vercingetorix

    Vercingetorix Member

    Yes, your points about Hamilton's meddling in the economy are well-taken. I surely don't think that we should follow all of his economic advice. I do think that he saw clearly, before most others did, that the Articles of Confederation were too weak, and he also foresaw that a diversified economy with many products being traded and a lot of commerce moving around was a good thing. Now, I think he was wrong to try to make it happen with tariffs and special subsidies, but I think in broad terms, he understood that agriculture was really not something to be praised for it's own sake.
  6. pietastesgood

    pietastesgood Member

    While I'll agree that both Hamilton's and Jefferson's contributions have had large impacts in our government today, my favorite founder has to be Ben Franklin, simply because he was such a Renaissance man and an interesting character. I'm also partial to him because I did a project on him back in third grade.
    skyblue likes this.
  7. Agriculture not something to be praised for its own sake? Apparently you don't like to eat.

    I don't know that I've got a "favorite" founding father, but I know that I really respect Jefferson and that some of the things he said regarding tyranny and the state ring as true today as ever.
    skyblue likes this.

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