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Would the founding fathers approve of the America we have created today?

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“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty…”

With this succinct arrangement of words, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and 48 other influential men assembled this preamble for the infamous, guiding document that was to come: The Constitution. From May to September of that year, these 52 founding fathers constructed the law for a land that they hoped would embody justice, tranquility, and liberty.

Over 200 years later, we continue to live under this Constitutional law with every action guided by it and every decision affected by it. Yet in many ways, the country that we’ve created no longer reflects the values that the founding fathers hoped to instill.

The constitution was established under the ideal of the “consent of the governed,” meaning that a government should only be able to exert power over a society that consents to it. However, recent stats prove that citizens are no longer content with the government that rules over them.

According to the 538 Project, over 52% of partisans disapprove with the Trump administration, and this is mirrored in voter turnout. In the recent midterms, we saw the highest turnout in a century, and it still sat strikingly low at 49.3%. In a country where over half of the population does not approve of their leaders and only half of the eligible voters exercise their right to do so, how can we say that our population is content?

James Madison once said that “no nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” Historians and writers such as James Harrison, Noah Chomsky, and James Chace, however, argue that the United States is in a state of “perpetual war.”

In the last century, between involvements in Vietnam, Korea, Central America, Russia, and the Middle East, it’s almost impossible to imagine a period of time where we haven’t actively been involved in conflict. In this way, it becomes more and more clear that our country today no longer abides by George Washington’s famed Neutrality Proclamation. For if one was to take a quick glance at the recent state of our foreign affairs, the last word that comes to mind is “neutral.”

Perhaps most importantly, our entire system of government has been uprooted and no longer follows the same principles and priorities that were put forth by our founders. The founding fathers condemned involving business and politics, saying that “the selfish spirit of commerce that knows no country and feels no passion or principle but that of gain.”

But today, business and politics are incredibly intertwined. Far too often, politicians receive donations from companies and organizations, only for those same organizations to eventually receive large influxes of political support once politicians are elected; the NRA’s consistent involvement in politics is just one example of this common occurrence.

In the most simple way, our system is broken, utterly ignoring the ideas that the government was built upon. How can people consent to their government if they are not even content with it? How can a nation be tranquil if we are constantly involved in conflict? How can we consider our government to be just when million-dollar industries control it, rather than the people?

“Secure the blessings of liberty,” stated the quoted excerpt of the preamble. Liberty. This elusive, enlightened ideal perhaps sums up the visions and objectives of the founding fathers best. However, in our broken society today, I would argue that liberty is the entity that is most lacking.

If founding fathers were to transport to today and see the lack of founding rights, concepts, and freedoms, how could they ever approve of the America we have created?

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About the Writer
Nisha Rajakrishna, Editor in Chief

Nisha Rajakrishna is a senior and entering her last year on staff as an Editor-in-Chief. Nisha loves to travel and experience new cultures, and in her...

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Would the founding fathers approve of the America we have created today?