Taking Sides Issue 7

Taking Sides (Issue 7)

During the colonial period, the issue whether the Founding Fathers were democratic reformers was raised. The historian Roche insisted that the Founding Fathers utilized their powers to create a constitution that supported the needs of the nation and was acceptable to the people. While, the historian Zinn claimed that the northern economic interests and the southern slaveholders made up the Founding Fathers. Also, this self-interested elite group used Shays’ Rebellion as a catalyzation to admit a strong central government into power. Both historians have strong arguments that provide an answer to this issue that demonstrates which argument holds the answer to whether the Founding Fathers were democratic reformers.
Roche’s argument is based on the idea that the Founding Fathers were motivated by the people and for the people. They created a compromise for the “national interest” and that would keep the people of the nation happy. Their only weapon was the “mobilization of the public opinion” (139). With this idea, the Founding Fathers would only focus on the needs of the nation. Thus, they are promoting democratic reform. Also, the Founding Fathers refused to establish a centralized government on the principle of legislative supremacy since the people would not accept it (149). Therefore, the people of the nation were always in the Founding Fathers best interests according to Roche. Roche’s argument focused on the Founding Fathers willingness to give the people of the nation acceptable rights and laws. However, in Zinn’s argument, the Founding Fathers are self-motivated and only want what is best for each one of them. Zinn stated that the Founding Fathers were only interested in balancing the dominant forces at that specific time (159). They were not interested in creating equality among slaves, Indians, women, and those who did not own property. If equality was not a motivation than only the interests of the Founding Fathers were looked...