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Old April 1st, 2009, 10:01 AM   #1
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Founding Father.

Hello everyone.

I know this thread some what excludes our international friends, but I invite everyone to answer my question. Who is everyone's favorite American Founding Father and why?
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Old April 1st, 2009, 10:45 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Glee View Post
Hello everyone.

I know this thread some what excludes our international friends, but I invite everyone to answer my question. Who is everyone's favorite American Founding Father and why?
Well, I'm Canadian and know very little about American history, but I would have to say Benjamin Franklin (he is a founding father right?).

For one, he's one of the only two I know (George Washington is the other) so there isn't much competition. Most importantly though he was a very intelligent person. Great talent in music, science and inventing. Who doesn't love an inventor?!

He did have an illegitimate son, but hey, no ones perfect
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Old April 1st, 2009, 09:17 PM   #3
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Foundling Fathers?

Oh, hard for me not to be fond of a guy that purportedly said, "All cats are grey in the dark." And to be detested by the British and loved by the French, what an accomplishment. So Bennie F is my boy. Now, I do have a deep respect for many of the others, an uncommon lot of individuals, I think.

And though Thomas Paine is not always listed among them, I have a fondness for him simply be cause he was a man of great conviction who suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as he grew older, his accomplishments dismissed and his flaws exaggerated.

I admire Jefferson, if for nothing else, having a roving eye. His deeds did not quite match his fine words, which is something many people might find themselves guilty of. I will not be the first to cast a stone.
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Old April 11th, 2009, 03:47 AM   #4
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I would imagine George Washington. A man of action who walked his talk. Lots of courage, and took on the good ol' British Empire and was brilliant at it. I have lasting respect for any patriots who fought for their freedom against the British ...
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Old April 13th, 2009, 09:47 PM   #5
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Having been forced to read Franklin's autobiography, I kind of dislike the man. I like John Adams. And Jefferson. My favorite thing about them is that while they were doing the founding they pretty much hated each others guts. But in their later years, they corresponded and became friends, debating points in their letters. And then they both died on the same day. The Fourth of July, I think.
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Old April 13th, 2009, 10:47 PM   #6
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curious, you've made me curious about Franklin's autobiography. I will have to keep my eyes peeled for it. What about him made you end up disliking him?
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Old April 14th, 2009, 05:02 PM   #7
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That's interesting. Franklin does come off a bit arrogant at times, and if I remember correctly, he went on his own beliefs when negotiating with the French. He did convince them to help us, so that still counts for something.

I think I've already talked about Washington. He had all the power he wanted and chose to limit himself. Something very honorable about that.

Jefferson and Adams were both good men of the age too. Jefferson pushed aside his own beliefs about small government to help the United States grow and prosper. Adams defended the British soldiers in the Boston massacre (and got most of them acquitted) because he believed that all men deserved a fair trial. Lots of good examples really.
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 02:56 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by curious View Post
Having been forced to read Franklin's autobiography, I kind of dislike the man. I like John Adams. And Jefferson. My favorite thing about them is that while they were doing the founding they pretty much hated each others guts. But in their later years, they corresponded and became friends, debating points in their letters. And then they both died on the same day. The Fourth of July, I think.
I like the way you put it. Perhaps it is much better to cooperate with people you do not like, than with people you do like and I think after all of the struggles the friendship in the end has to be deeper too. No struggle no progress.
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 09:57 PM   #9
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Franklin was arrogant, and it showed in his autobiography. That doesn't change the fact that he was a brilliant and effective man. It just means that he's not my favorite.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 05:02 PM   #10
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Franklin was arrogant, and it showed in his autobiography. That doesn't change the fact that he was a brilliant and effective man. It just means that he's not my favorite.
I agree. I with-held saying who I thought was the best founding father because I didn't want my opinion to skew what others might put up. But I seems I didn't have to worry about it, as most people placed Benjamin Franklin as their favorite anyway. I still think Thomas Jefferson was great, and George Washington did his role, but if you just go past politics and the War, Benjamin Franklin is the man. Not only did he revolutionize the country, but the printing service, post, electricity, fire department, the first library, weather patterns, discovery of the gulf stream... did I leave anything out? lol
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Old May 7th, 2009, 12:19 AM   #11
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My favorite would be Samuel Adams, he was the one who planted the seed of independence long before the revolution and became the leader of the movement that became the revolution. He was one of the architects of American Reublicaism. Helped Congress towards issuing the Declaration of Independence, helped draft the articles of confederation and helped daft the Massachusetts Constitution. IMO the revolution for independence may never have happened, if not for his leadership.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 01:48 PM   #12
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My favorite would be Samuel Adams, he was the one who planted the seed of independence long before the revolution and became the leader of the movement that became the revolution. He was one of the architects of American Reublicaism. Helped Congress towards issuing the Declaration of Independence, helped draft the articles of confederation and helped daft the Massachusetts Constitution. IMO the revolution for independence may never have happened, if not for his leadership.
Oh cool. I'm glad you gave a founding father that isn't so obvious.
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Old December 18th, 2009, 11:08 AM   #13
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That's interesting. Franklin does come off a bit arrogant at times, and if I remember correctly, he went on his own beliefs when negotiating with the French. He did convince them to help us, so that still counts for something.
[FONT=Courier New] I have only read parts of Franklin?s Autobiography, although while in grade school I read a children?s bio of him that I think must have been largely based on the Autobiography.
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[FONT=Courier New] A few years ago I read another bio (by Isaacson or Isaacs?) and my opinion of Franklin sank like a rock.
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[FONT=Courier New] It was only at the last minute that Franklin decided to support the American cause; he had spent a decade or more prior to 1775 living in Britain (and he also lived in Britain as a young man before he returned to Philadelphia to set up his own printing business) and I got the feeling that only after it became obvious that Franklin was never going to get the patronage of George III (he desperately wanted an appointment as a royal postmaster) that Franklin decided to support the American Revolution.
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[FONT=Courier New] The Franklins (Father, son and grandson) were serial philanders with son, grandson and great-grandson all being bastards. Franklin had a distant- pretty much cold- relationship with his wife and only (surviving) legitimate child, but he would treat other women and their daughters as if they were blood kin.
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[FONT=Courier New]Franklin had no definite religious faith, and while my purpose here is not to argue that any one faith is better than any other, I will say that Franklin?s lack of religious conviction no doubt contributed to his Johnny-come-lately support for the American cause.

Quote:
Adams defended the British soldiers in the Boston massacre (and got most of them acquitted) because he believed that all men deserved a fair trial. Lots of good examples really.

[FONT=Courier New] [FONT=Courier New]Adams [FONT=Courier New] also wanted to demonstrate that [FONT=Courier New]America [FONT=Courier New] was not a lawless frontier filled with radicals who had no respect for the lives and property of others. He wanted [FONT=Courier New]Europe [FONT=Courier New] to fully understand that Americans were fighting for principle, not profit. People like George Washington felt the same way after the Boston Tea Party lead to the destruction of private property. People like Washington and Adams (along with [FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New]) were highly conservative. They fought the Revolution to maintain the political rights that the English had taken for granted for centuries. Unlike Thomas Paine (and to some extent Thomas Jefferson) Washington and Adams were not interested in a revolution for the sake of overturning the traditional social norms.
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Old December 18th, 2009, 11:17 AM   #14
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I agree. I with-held saying who I thought was the best founding father because I didn't want my opinion to skew what others might put up. But I seems I didn't have to worry about it, as most people placed Benjamin Franklin as their favorite anyway. I still think Thomas Jefferson was great, and George Washington did his role, but if you just go past politics and the War, Benjamin Franklin is the man. Not only did he revolutionize the country, but the printing service, post, electricity, fire department, the first library, weather patterns, discovery of the gulf stream... did I leave anything out? lol
[FONT=Courier New] My favorite is Alexander Hamilton. His infidelity aside, Hamilton did manage to salvage the national economy following the Revolution, and he laid the foundation for America?s future super-power status while serving as the de facto founder of American conservatism.
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[FONT=Courier New] I don?t think much of Washington?s ability as a military commander and he was essentially a lackluster president in that he allowed Hamilton, Madison and Jefferson to lead him around by the nose.
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[FONT=Courier New]John Adams is highly under-ratted by most modern historians.
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Old December 18th, 2009, 11:53 AM   #15
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[FONT=Courier New] My favorite is Alexander Hamilton. His infidelity aside, Hamilton did manage to salvage the national economy following the Revolution, and he laid the foundation for America?s future super-power status while serving as the de facto founder of American conservatism.
I would argue otherwise. He was for a strong national government that meddled in the markets, he was for central banking, he imposed large taxes on the people and tariffs on imports. A lot of that was exactly what we were trying to avoid when we established this nation. I would take Thomas Jefferson over Hamilton any day on economic issues as well as who I liked more as a founding father. (of course Jefferson acted against what he preached when he was President, but before and after that his words and actions were more in line with what he stood for.)
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Old December 18th, 2009, 02:52 PM   #16
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I would argue otherwise. He was for a strong national government that meddled in the markets, he was for central banking, he imposed large taxes on the people and tariffs on imports.
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[FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New] stabilized the currency and raised enough revenue to restore public confidence in the government that was carrying a huge debt load, and he laid the foundation for [FONT=Courier New]America [FONT=Courier New]?s industrial economy in the process.
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A lot of that was exactly what we were trying to avoid when we established this nation.
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[FONT=Courier New]Prove it. Just how did [FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New] do things that went contrary to what we had fought for in the Revolution?
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Old December 18th, 2009, 03:10 PM   #17
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[FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New] stabilized the currency and raised enough revenue to restore public confidence in the government that was carrying a huge debt load, and he laid the foundation for [FONT=Courier New]America [FONT=Courier New]’s industrial economy in the process.
[FONT=Courier New] He is the one who drove up a lot of that debt in the first place with increased spending. He just paid for it with high tariffs. It was small government, which in turn produced relatively freer markets that led to the industrial revolution, but most of the founding fathers believed in small Federal government to begin with.

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[FONT=Courier New]Prove it. Just how did [FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New] do things that went contrary to what we had fought for in the Revolution?
The huge tariffs and taxes (Whiskey tax comes to mind) are a great example. We fought King George's unfair taxes and the founding fathers believed in a very limited Federal government- the articles of Confederation are proof. Of course the AOC failed and Federal government was given more power under the Constitution, but the idea was still to drastically limit it. Hamilton's ideas of government which were strongly nationalistic were not exactly in line with those of many of the other founding fathers.
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Old December 18th, 2009, 04:21 PM   #18
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[FONT=Courier New] He is the one who drove up a lot of that debt in the first place with increased spending.
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[FONT=Courier New]Are you sure you are taking any history courses in college? The federal debt in [FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New]'s day was due mostly to the debt the country took on in order to fight the Revolutionary War. Most of the debt that [FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New] had to deal with was created before the Constitution was even written; it was not due to federal spending while [FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New] was Secretary of the Treasury. The most you can say about Hamilton?s increase of the federal debt was that he pushed a law through congress to make the federal government assume the Revolutionary War debts of the individual states, but Hamilton did this to promote national unity by giving the states a stake in the success of the newly established national government- and to emphasize to Europe that America intended to survive as a nation. [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]
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He just paid for it with high tariffs. [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New] It was small government, which in turn produced relatively freer markets that led to the industrial revolution, but most of the founding fathers believed in small Federal government to begin with.
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[COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]The Industrial Revolution was not already a century old by the time [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New] was Secretary of the Treasury, it also had begun in [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]Great Britain- [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New] you know the country whose ?big? government we rebelled against in the Revolution.
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[COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]Without the income tax option excise taxes and tariffs were [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]?s main sources for federal revenue. And since American industry was not able to compete with cheap imports from [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]Europe [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New] due to a bad transportation system and a shortage of labor a high tariff was needed to make American industry profitable and thus encourage its expansion.
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The huge tariffs and taxes (Whiskey tax comes to mind) are a great example. We fought King George's unfair taxes and the founding fathers believed in a very limited Federal government-
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[COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]We rebelled against the King?s taxes not because of their amount but because we had no say in the government that imposed them. Even with the taxes that lead to the American Revolution, Americans had a much smaller tax burden than anything the Brits had at the time.
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[COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]'s ideas of government which were strongly nationalistic were not exactly in line with those of many of the other founding fathers.
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[FONT=Courier New][FONT=Courier New]So? Was it not [FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New]?s view that the country ultimately accepted?
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Old December 18th, 2009, 04:47 PM   #19
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[FONT=Courier New]Are you sure you are taking any history courses in college? The federal debt in [FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New]'s day was due mostly to the debt the country took on in order to fight the Revolutionary War. Most of the debt that [FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New] had to deal with was created before the Constitution was even written; it was not due to federal spending while [FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New] was Secretary of the Treasury. The most you can say about Hamilton’s increase of the federal debt was that he pushed a law through congress to make the federal government assume the Revolutionary War debts of the individual states, but Hamilton did this to promote national unity by giving the states a stake in the success of the newly established national government- and to emphasize to Europe that America intended to survive as a nation.
Hamilton took on state debts- since the Federal government then owed money, that can be seen as a form of Federal spending, so how is what I said wrong? Now as to why he took on that debt- that is another debate and it can be argued that his decision to take it was not the best move. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison both made arguments in the other direction. But, that is really another topic. In the end, Hamilton was an advocate for a national debt.



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[COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]The Industrial Revolution was not already a century old by the time [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New] was Secretary of the Treasury, it also had begun in [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]Great Britain- [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New] you know the country whose “big” government we rebelled against in the Revolution.
Even in Europe, the Industrial Revolution was not driven by the government in any way. It was driven by the market, which innovated and made some key inventions that revolutionized the production of many common goods. That is why you can not attribute the market growth to Hamilton's assumption of state debts or his ideas on national identity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jfla View Post
[COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]Without the income tax option excise taxes and tariffs were [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]’s main sources for federal revenue. And since American industry was not able to compete with cheap imports from [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]Europe [COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New] due to a bad transportation system and a shortage of labor a high tariff was needed to make American industry profitable and thus encourage its expansion.
As for the need for tariffs, this is reliant on whether or not the Federal government even took on the state debts- and again, it can be argued that that was not the best move.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jfla View Post
[COLOR=#323232][FONT=Courier New]We rebelled against the King’s taxes not because of their amount but because we had no say in the government that imposed them. Even with the taxes that lead to the American Revolution, Americans had a much smaller tax burden than anything the Brits had at the time.
Yes, I know that (notice I said unfair), but most of the founding fathers- not Hamilton of course- were for a small Federal government, which also meant low Federal taxes.



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Originally Posted by jfla View Post
[FONT=Courier New] So? Was it not [FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New]’s view that the country ultimately accepted?
Hamilton (or anyone for that matter) should not be considered great or the best founding father just because a lot of his ideas were ultimately accepted. His ideas made a large revival in this past century when the elastic cause has been used extensively to increase the size of the Federal government and with central banking being dominant (and in my opinion overbearing) in the market. There is a strong national identity in many policies and a Federal government that believes it is ok to have extensive national debts.

Currently, we face a national debt that is so titanic that it is almost unbelievable. We see a Federal government that continues to creep on the liberties of the people and on the rights of the states. We see politicians use the elastic clause as a means to do whatever they please, even when it comes in conflict with other parts of the Constitution. A lot of Hamilton's ideas have, in fact, been implemented, but it can be argued that they have also led to many of the problems we face today. Just because they were eventually accepted, does not mean Hamilton was the best founding father, even if you think he was the most influential.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 05:48 AM   #20
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[FONT=Courier New][FONT=Courier New]Hamilton took on state debts- since the Federal government then owed money, that can be seen as a form of Federal spending, so how is what I said wrong?
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[FONT=Courier New][FONT=Courier New]It wasn?t federal spending in the modern sense of the word. It was making state debts incurred in the common cause of achieving independence a common obligation of all of the states.
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Even in [FONT=Courier New] [FONT=Courier New]Europe [FONT=Courier New], the Industrial Revolution was not driven by the government in any way.
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[FONT=Courier New] [FONT=Courier New]On the contrary. [FONT=Courier New]Britain [FONT=Courier New]?s government policy of mercantilism and high tariffs were designed to protect British manufacturers from foreign competition thus encouraging [FONT=Courier New]Britain [FONT=Courier New]?s manufacturing economy to expand.
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As for the need for tariffs, this is reliant on whether or not the Federal government even took on the state debts- and again, it can be argued that that was not the best move.
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[FONT=Courier New] [FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New]?s support of tariffs was more to protect American industry than it was to raise money to pay the debt. And if the tariff had been used mainly to pay the public debt, it still would have been needed even if the federal government had not assumed the state debts. When [FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New][FONT=Courier New]?s plan took effect the state debts were around $21.5 million- but the national debt was around $55 million.


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Yes, I know that (notice I said unfair), but most of the founding fathers- not Hamilton of course- were for a small Federal government, which also meant low Federal taxes.
[FONT=Courier New][FONT=Courier New]
[FONT=Courier New][FONT=Courier New]Prove it. Which specific Founding Fathers (limited to the delegates to the Constitutional Convention, i.e., the ones that had direct say in deciding how big and powerful the federal government could be) wanted small government and low taxes?

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Currently, we face a national debt that is so titanic that it is almost unbelievable.
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[FONT=Courier New] [FONT=Courier New]Something [FONT=Courier New]Hamilton [FONT=Courier New] would not have supported because the current debt is unmanageable due to its size.
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We see a Federal government that continues to creep on the liberties of the people and on the rights of the states.
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[FONT=Courier New][FONT=Courier New]How so? What exactly has the federal government done?
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We see politicians use the elastic clause as a means to do whatever they please, even when it comes in conflict with other parts of the Constitution.
[FONT=Courier New][FONT=Courier New]
[FONT=Courier New][FONT=Courier New]Give some examples.
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