I am fortunate to live in the area known as "The Crossroads of the Revolution". This part of New Jersey was the host to more skirmishes, battles and military action during the Revolutionary War; than any other part of the original 13 Colonies.
Indeed, just down the road from me is the historic Oak Tree Pond, which was the site of a skirmish between the NJ Militia and the British Regulars that put an end to a flanking maneuver that the British were trying to accomplish in an effort to win the Battle of Short Hills.
In the next town over, in Piscataway, NJ, resides the historic Indian Queen Tavern which used to sit on the waterfront in New Brunswick. It was in this very inn that John Adams and Ben Franklin stayed when they came to "inspect the troops" in New Brunswick on behalf of the Second Continental Congress. George Washington was a guest at the inn numerous times; and it is believed that Thomas Jefferson composed parts of the Declaration of Independence while staying there.
Which lead me to wonder sometimes, that if Jefferson, Adams, Washington and Franklin were to fall asleep at the Indian Queen on a night in 1776 and were to awake to find themselves in the United States of America in 2008 ..... what would they think?
After the initial shock and awe, which would take a long time to overcome, I think that they would have mixed reviews as to what has become of their dream, their "experiment".
I think they would be proud of our ingenuity, our technological advancement, our nation's character (for the most part). I think they'd be proud that we expanded to include 50 great States; choosing not to rest and be content to remain a Union of 13 States. I think they'd be proud that we survived the Civil War and became a stronger Nation for it. I believe that while our Founding Fathers were isolationists, preferring not to become embroiled in Europe's politics, that they would be proud that the United States was behind the voice of Liberty and Freedom that carried through two World Wars and various other times of conflict.
I believe that the Founding Fathers would be proud that until this day, we remain for the most part, "The Breadbasket of the World", feeding millions besides our own. I believe that they would be unbelievably proud that our flag, The Star Spangled Banner, flies on the Moon and is on the sides of spacecraft that have left our Solar System to explore the deepness of space. I think as a whole, they would be delighted with the character and dignity of the people that today, we call Americans.
On the other hand, I am sure there are MANY things that they would shake their heads at; and hold in contempt. I am sure they would deplore the lack of personal responsibility that seems to be so prevalent today. They would certainly abhor the desire of so many for a type of "Nanny State" government that would take care of everything FOR the people. Indeed, they saw such as a throwing away of personal liberty which they regarded as man's most sacred possession. In their minds, government was supposed to exist at the will of the people. It's not supposed to force people to do things they wouldn't otherwise want to do; or interfere with their personal lives and liberties.
The would be very sad with the Judicial Branch of our government, who feels it is their responsibility to make laws instead of interpret them - "legislation from the bench". And they would probably be angered to the point of apoplexy by politicians who spend too much time trying to hold on to their jobs instead of DOING their jobs.
I think the concept of "political correctness" would smack too much of "European delicacy and gentility" and that they would stay away from that like a cat from water.
I am sure they would most definitely shake their heads in sorrow with our fanatical obsession with the "separation of Church and State". I can almost hear them now ... "When we wrote, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" that is ALL we meant!" The desire was for no state religion like The Church of England to become an American institution whereby the President or Congress would become the head of said religion. The Founding Fathers had no desire to separate the United States from God! In fact the Founders believed that a healthy fear and respect of God was necessary for the continuing survival of this Nation. It's so pitiful that so many of our country spend so much of their time divorcing our Nation from God in every circumstance; and then wonder where He is when some kind of natural disaster or calamity occurs.
I think they would look at our current system of taxation and would wonder whatever became of the idea of "taxation without representation". This inflation of the size of government and the plundering of the citizen's personal wealth to keep it all going would be very distasteful to them, indeed.
Lastly, I think they would have a terrible time with the concept of abortion; and how the Supreme Court could have so badly misinterpreted the Constitution as to think that somehow murder (yes ...... murder) would be protected by that Document.
So ....... the question remains ....... would they be proud? I am certain that for the most part they probably would be; but at the same time they'd also be very sad to see how their legacy was mishandled by succeeding generations.
In any event, the Nation remains strong, prosperous and proud. Happy Birthday, United States!To all of you out there, have a wonderful, safe and happy 4th of July weekend.
And may God continue to bless America.
73 de Larry W2LJ