The Reading Room
Studying the Founders: A Summary and Downloadable Collection
Over this past Summer, we invited scholars into the Reading Room to share their views on the Founding Fathers and Mothers and why we should read and understand them today. They explored the likes of George Mason, Deborah Sampson, James Wilson, Phillis Wheatley, George Washington, and John Francis Mercer. As time has moved away from the Founding, people have forgotten their contributions to our country. It was our desire that this series bring their importance back to the forefront.
Within these blog posts, we were educated, enlightened, and encouraged to not only read about the founders but to also understand why and how their actions affect our past, present, and future. I personally learned how so many of them were courageous, principle-driven rebels and activists, far ahead of their time in their approach to protests.
In the posts, we learned that our founders consisted of revolutionaries, Presidents, lawyers, mothers, wives, patriots, statesmen, abolitionists, Supreme Court Justices, educators, slaveholders (not that we glorify that aspect of their lives) and so much more. They fought for justice, religious and economic freedom, fundamental rights, women’s rights, and they shaped our government as we know it. We find many today who fight for these very same values.
Founders like Samuel Adams were at the forefront of the fight for liberty and equality, but he wasn’t the only one. Gouverneur Morris must have been thinking about these things when he wrote the Preamble to the Constitution. That document opens with “We The People.” Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “all men were created equal.” I know some will say that neither enslaved people nor women were included in these statements but I believe that these men had them in their minds when the documents were written. Otherwise, they would have written them with a “but” or “except” clause. They did not.
We have created a PDF version of this series for you. You can download it from the Links It is my hope that you will share it with others and continue your exploration of the Founders.
P.S. Special thanks to all of the scholars for participating.