Taking Side part 1 - 1 Todd Moeller History 210 Professor...

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1 Todd Moeller History 210 Professor Ilonggo Taking Sides: Were Our Founding Fathers Democratic Reformers? Were our Founding Father’s democratic reformers, who wanted what was best for the people of the United States? Or were the Founding Fathers a group of selfish, elite, white slaveholders, who only had their best interests at heart? In this paper, we are going to look at two people’s perspectives, John P. Roche, and Howard Zinn. Roche and Zinn had two very different perceptions of our Founding Fathers, and their motives for ratifying the Constitution of The United States. Roche said in his writings that not only were our “Founding Father’s revolutionaries, but they were also superb democratic politicians who created a constitution that supported the needs of the nation”. 1 Zinn however had a very different perspective of our Founding Fathers. Zinn states in his writings that “the Founding Fathers were an elite group of northern money interests, and southern slaveholders that used Shay’s Rebellion as a pretext to create a strong central government, which only protected the rich and excluded slaves, Indians, and non-property owning white men”. 2 Both Roche, and Zinn bring up very valid arguments to support their ideas. Arguments and points that we will discuss further in this paper. I am not sure of the motives that our Founding Fathers had while attending the Philadelphia Convention in 1 John P. Roche, "The Founding Fathers: A Reform Caucus in Action," in Taking Sides: Clashing Views in United States History, vol. 1, 13th edition, ed. Larry Madaras and James M. SoRelle (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2009), 112
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2 1787, but I do know they made compromises, and sacrifices that day for what they believed was best for the people of the United States, to protect us from foreign invasion. John P. Roche not only believes that our Founding Fathers were radical revolutionaries, but they were also superb democratic politicians. 3 He proves his point by discussing the problems the Founding Fathers faced, and how they compromised and solved them. For example, “Georgians wanted a strong central government to provide military protection for their huge, underpopulated state against the Creek Confederacy” 4 . New Jersey, and Connecticut wanted to escape the economic bondage they have been dealing with from New York, and Virginians also wanted to establish a system that would give their state its rightful place in the council of the republic. 5 The Constitutionalists got the jump on their opponents. The Constitutionalists didn’t need to have the opposition agree to reform of the Constitution but only that they should meet to discuss reform. Roche states “Perhaps because of their poor intelligence system, perhaps because of their over-confidence generated by the failure of all previous efforts to alter the Articles, the 2 Howard Zinn, "A People's History of the United States," in Taking Sides: Clashing Views in United States History, vol. 1, 13th edition, ed. Larry Madaras and James M. SoRelle (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2009), 112 3 Roche, John P.
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