The so-called Impeachment Trial is going on and as a federal criminal appeals attorney who has made countless Constitutional arguments, I find this historical event riveting. During the proceedings, House Managers and Counselors for Donald J. Trump made frequent references to the men who designed our Republic. In some form or fashion the names John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington were reiterated with great deference by one side or the other. In order to evaluate their greatness, let’s take a brief but deep dive into the origins of our nation and the collective character of these seven fellows. Actually, they were a bunch of white supremacist, misogynists, and bigots who initially help shaped our country.
The American myths began with the Pilgrims and the Mayflower. In 1620, those purportedly good people fled religious persecution in England and sailed to America, the new world, to make their home. Shortly after their arrival these supposedly anti-discrimination folks began their campaign of spiritual bullying. They considered the indigenous populations heathens and destroyed or stole their religious objects. Eventually these cultural artifacts were put in museums and many of the native traditional ways and ritual practices were forbidden. Over time, the progressive movement in America meant moving west, which lead to the least discussed genocide on the planet. The purportedly religious minded pioneers killed buffalos and members of the First Nation with equal impunity. The buffalo was almost wiped out and there was the wholesale slaughter of 90% of the American Indian population. Those who survived were inhumanly moved off their sacred lands and onto reservations. Treaties were created between the sovereign nations, which to this day, Washington DC breaks with impunity.
After the War of Independence many states only allowed white male landowners to vote in US elections. Of course, the founding fathers were amongst the largest landowners, holding in their names millions of millions of square miles. A 2016 article by The Atlantic states, “For one thing, there was a lot of land available once the colonists started taking it from Native Americans, and—as the game Monopoly shows us—owning property has historically been a good way to get ahead. Colonists were able to profit from the land.”
Back then women could not vote. A wife was considered her husband’s personal property, similar to his cattle. A synopsis from a history course at George Mason University states “Most Americans treated married women according to the concept of ‘coverture’, a concept inherited from English common law. Under the doctrine of coverture, a woman was legally considered the chattel of her husband, his possession…. Women had no legal identity.” To this day, women are fighting for an equal identity to men in the public square.
Speaking of slaves, many of the Founding Fathers kept slaves. A 2016 PBS blog on this subject begins, “When the founders of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 considered whether America should let the people elect their president through a popular vote, James Madison said that “Negroes” in the South presented a “difficulty … of a serious nature. During that same speech on Thursday, July 19, Madison instead proposed a prototype for the same Electoral College system the country uses today. Each state has a number of electoral votes roughly proportioned to population and the candidate who wins the majority of votes wins the election.” The great compromise to ensure a ‘fair’ Electoral College guaranteed Southern landowners of black slaves could count them as 3/5ths of a person.
This is astonishing. Our founding fathers were seriously flawed men, which bring us full circle to the charismatic and corrupt, Donald J. Trump. He appeals to the grievance-driven, abortion-controlling, white males who long to return to the grand old past. The GOP.