What made the founders different? Revolutionary Characters by Gordon Wood
The book talks about the founders of the ancient times of America and the significant steps that they took. These ancient figures are considered to be of great inspiration to the whole of the country and even the world as a whole. Presently, there exists a different crop of leaders that handle their operations in a different way with a varied range of purpose kept in mind. Thus the question, why dont we have such crop of leaders in the present time? Why the contrast?
There however arises the argument as to whether the founding fathers were as perfect as they were thought to be or they deserved the respect that they were proclaimed. In the present time, the founding fathers are seen as individuals that portrayed all the necessary characters that all of the present leaders do not possess. It has hence become a gauge by every government to be measured on the basis of the past founding fathers. But as it has been found out, such leaders employed tactics that were negative to achieve their desires, in the lime light they attributed traits that were all perfect and no error to it. So, are the founding fathers the best basis of measuring our present governments and its leaders? Do they really deserve the respect and special treatment that they have?
There initially, Americans were termed to as worshippers of their constitution. They are acknowledged for the role that they played. The founding fathers possessed words and deeds that the citizens followed with faith. The revolutionary characters or founders were in a position to join ideas and politics in the best way known so as to effectively to manage its people. This book aims to find the answers to questions as to what made the founding fathers so different from the present time leaders. The book as written by Professor Gordon Wood compares the historical happenings to the present point in time(Wood). It focuses on Thomas Jefferson, Professor Wood consequently acquired the belief that these founding fathers possesses were character wise different from the present people as well as some of other founders in the future. With the present day constitutional knowledge that follows its making, people continue to look to these leaders for the acquisition of the wise and valuable acts that they did in the past. These leaders are being put to use in the present times as a gauge to measure or gauge the leaders. Which some leaders fail to attain. As opposed to other countries, America is founded on the basis of what it beliefs in rather than the basis of identity thus the need to know the founders.
Thomas Jefferson realizing that he was on the verge of becoming famous, he collected portraits of those he considered to be relevantly important; these ranged from George Washington, John Adams the first US minister of Great Britain and others and himself as done by Brown. The main reason for this was to include these individuals in the collection of principal American characters
Thomas Jefferson, who died in 1826 July 4, was one such founder who acquired the Declaration of Independence. The consecutive generations would not fail to look back at the exceptionality that befell this founder and the constitutional makers. These founders were associated with being bigger than life and respectable human beings a forest of giant oaks as put across by Lincoln. They were attributed to being intellects and possessors of political capacities well ahead the leaders that followed them. Though, the leaders also did possess some similar characteristics to the present leaders like the silencing of publications and manipulations and spoiling of votes.Thomas Jefferson among other democratic leaders was provoked by the inspiration and democratic character of the constitution. These leaders were not satisfied with the progress that was attributed to the constitution in relation to the varied structures of the government, more so the Senate. The founder possessed a character of leadership that made it possible for the creation of a governmental system that more so worked towards delimiting the sources of their own greatness. According to Professor Wood, the founders in this case Thomas Jeffersonconcluded that the destruction of the greatness of the founders was in no way replicable.
Thomas Jefferson has been used, in relation to their reputable reputations, on the basis of criticizing America. This takes the fact that they have been quite important to America and its way of life and hence used for inspiration and central applied senses of the daily practices. Jefferson has been used as an idol who has acquired negative remarks over the past forty or so years. These negative attributions of the founders have been much more widespread than there initially, this has even gone further to them being ignored these proves to be far more devastating.These founders are presently considered to possess any form of respect that it used to have and has degenerated to a debate among scholars and jurists. The founders are now considered to be very different from the present leaders and constitutional reformers considering that the founders have contrasting views concerning matters, race, the role of the woman and equality.
The epilogue focuses on the character that the founders had that made them stand out. Their inspirational acts concerning the political matters as well as social issues were one worth admiring. Such wise acts are lived to be remembered in the present time. Thomas Jefferson handling of the constitutional matters made him a famous leader amongst his countries men and a revolutionary leaders worth adapting to his character. The epilogue however does not present the overall themes.
The characters of the founders are necessary to being able to know the role that they played for the successes they are attributed to. The founders not only Thomas Jefferson acquired the attribute of being disinterested that was classically known as being virtuous or self-sacrifice. This was a result of the fast commercialization that took place in the eighteenth century. The character in the eighteenth century is quite different from what is taken presently or in the modern time. The contrast that existed in the modern times and the eighteenth century is that the long ago period had leaders that had to become actors which has led us to focus on the writings that they did to acquire their characters. Jefferson was termed to as being of pretension of character which is a character that is acquired from the inner self of the individual. According to Hamilton, Jefferson was to be preferred to Aaron Burr considering his eccentric and extraordinary career. Burr was considered to be of self-interest in politics that resulted to his down fall. The comparison made between Burr and Jefferson was based mainly on the inner character of Jefferson.
According to the professor Wood the founders played a part in their own demise, they established changes that acted on their own falling. The founders played part to the destruction but never affected the sources to their greatness; the form of government that was established is still intact in the modern time. George Washington was known to keenly watch his actions so as to maintain the fame he had already acquired. Burr was however not part of this as he acted very different though remembered for some efforts he had done. The founders did not acquire demise due to their own doing but as a result of goal which was bigger, their fame was long lasting. Thomas Jefferson was also known to possess a good understanding of the public audience and acquired a great amount of care when developing his writings. Thomas Jefferson was also accustomed to varied forms of views from the other founders; he believed that the common man made him to acquire the belief in weak government, poor legislature, minimal taxes, no debt and government closer to the people. Contrastingly, Hamilton did not have any faith in the common man hence acquiring the character of believing in a strong national government, a social and economic aristocracy and taxes among other issues.
It is consequent that some of the leaders have acquired respect and treatment that they do not deserve. Though they have done the best in establishing successful governments, they are not all that perfect as they have been attributed to. Some of the leaders are not worth the treatment that they are allocated. But taking nothing away from other leaders, there are however some leaders that do deserve respect for the effort in they played in creating the government that it is presently. Though they had faults as any other normal human being, they played a key role in creating the present government.
Wood, Gordon S. Revolutionary Characters: What Made The Founders Different. New York, USA: Penguin Press, 2006.