The Reagan Speech Preservation Society

Page History: Founding Fathers

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Page Revision: Sunday, 05 October 2014 22:23

The Founding Fathers is a generic name given to the men and women who contributed to the separation of the American colonies from England. The exact people involved is up to some level of interpretation. Some people look only at the delegates that met, drafted and approved the Declaration of Independence, some include the delegates involved with the Constitution. Everyone agrees on such famous men as George Washington, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry and John Hancock.

They are often viewed in two main groups: those who signed the Declaration of Independence and those who signed the Constitution.

Speech Relevance

Reagan does little more than mention the term "Founding Fathers" in most of his speeches, including 'Encroaching Control' and 'A Time For Choosing'.

However, in the CPAC speech 'A City Upon a Hill', he digs a little deeper.
Fifty-six men, a little band so unique — we have never seen their like since — pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Sixteen gave their lives, most gave their fortunes and all of them preserved their sacred honor. What manner of men were they? Certainly they were not an unwashed, revolutionary rabble, nor were they adventurers in a heroic mood. Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, 11 were merchants and tradesmen, nine were farmers. They were men who would achieve security but valued freedom more.

And what price did they pay? John Hart was driven from the side of his desperately ill wife. After more than a year of living almost as an animal in the forest and in caves, he returned to find his wife had died and his children had vanished. He never saw them again, his property was destroyed and he died of a broken heart — but with no regret, only pride in the part he had played that day in Independence Hall. Carter Braxton of Virginia lost all his ships — they were sold to pay his debts. He died in rags. So it was with Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Rutledge, Morris, Livingston, and Middleton. Nelson, learning that Cornwallis was using his home for a headquarters, personally begged Washington to fire on him and destroy his home—he died bankrupt. It has never been reported that any of these men ever expressed bitterness or renounced their action as not worth the price. Fifty-six rank-and-file, ordinary citizens had founded a nation that grew from sea to shining sea, five million farms, quiet villages, cities that never sleep — all done without an area re-development plan, urban renewal or a rural legal assistance program.

Named Signers

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