As a lifelong student of American government and history, one question has always intrigued me about the events which led to the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
How unlikely was this assembly of leaders and populace in one place that bred a nation which, in its early years, was unlike any other that preceded it?
It’s fashionable today to revisit the founders and other great men and women of American history, measure them against 21st century standards of behavior and find them wanting. As former President George W. Bush so eloquently put it, “Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.” Certainly, we should not deny that they were flawed, but if you embrace a biblical worldview of mankind, their flaws and ours are placed in a divine context and no one can hold themselves up over another.
Whatever their sins, from an expansive perspective, the convergence of these great leaders and thinkers and a general public ready to embrace their radical vision for a new nation was, in my humble opinion, providential.
Because of this perspective, I find myself often delving into their writings to understand what they were thinking as they birthed this nation, consulting primary sources as much as possible. I suppose if I were a jurist, that would make me an originalist!
One such journey led me to a famous quote by John Adams, a Founding Father and the 2nd President of the United States.Read More