Editor’s notes: Below you will find an article that a student has asked that I publish on this blog. I will have commentary after the post and it is important that you read it. These are not specifically my views, but the ones after the article will be mine and will clarify how mine differ from the content of this post…
By: Louise Baker
Zen College Life Blog
1. Many of the founding fathers died without much money. While many of the founding fathers were wise men, some of them were not so wise with the way they handled their money. Thomas Jefferson is a good example of a founding father who died without much to leave to his posterity. Jefferson died having more than $100,000 in debt. It can be argued, however, that the majority of his debts were left to Jefferson by his father and were never repaid. Other founders offered all of their money and land to be used towards the establishment of the new government, leaving several of them without homes, investments or land. While a few of the founding fathers attained some degree of wealth during their lifetimes, many were not so fortunate. Also, most of the wealthy Americans at the time were loyal to Britain and did not fight with the United States, but rather fought for Britain.
2. Not all of the founding fathers were present at the Constitutional Convention. Most notable among the important figures of early American history who were not present was Thomas Jefferson. At the time of the creation of the Constitution of the United States, Jefferson was serving as the ambassador to France. During his time away from the Western World, Jefferson was kept up to date on all of the proceedings through letters sent back and forth to James Madison.
3. Several of the State delegates who were present at the Constitutional Convention did not sign it. There were exactly 13 delegates who were present at the Convention and who left without ever signing the Constitution for various reasons. Three additional delegates, Elbridge Gerry, George Mason and Edmund Randolph were present at the signing of the Constitution and still felt that they should refuse to sign the Constitution. So while many people believe that the Constitution was voted for unanimously by delegates of the time, that is not the case.
4. The majority of the founding fathers did not sign the Declaration of Independence on July Fourth. While John Hancock was eager to be the first to sign the Declaration of Independence and did so on the Fourth of July, most of the remaining signers did not put their signature on the announcement until August. The reason that we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth of July is because Thomas Jefferson believed that the date was associated with positive astrological phenomena.
5. Most of the founding fathers were either Protestant or did not believe in organized religion at the time. Roughly 46 of those who are considered “Founding Fathers” of the United States claimed their religious beliefs to be aligned with those of several Protestant churches. Only three of the Fathers were Roman Catholic, while most of the remaining individuals claimed to be anti-clerical and were entirely opposed to organized religion.
While the essence of this post is mostly correct, I suspect there was significant spin in the sources. Wikipedia and The New York Times are both notorious for skewing historical facts and not being entirely thorough in what they publish. The New York Times was the one that stated the 4th of July was chosen by Jefferson for the astrological date. I have never heard this before and would need to see it in the original documents of Jefferson before I would give it credence.
As to religion, I believe the vast majority of the founding fathers, if not all of them were of the Christian persuasion. So I disagree with number 5. Their religious affiliations can be found here… You might also want to visit WallBuilders for a complete discussion on the topic. Remember, there were 204 founding fathers. Our country along with our documents that founded us was based on Christianity and a firm belief in God.
I want to thank Louise for her post. She did a great job, but I would highly recommend WallBuilders to anyone wanting a thorough and in-depth history of the founding fathers.