Happy Birthday America. As we celebrate the birth of our great nation, it is always a good idea to reflect back on how the Founders and Framers worked tirelessly to assemble a new and innovative structure of government, although initially fragile, it endures to this day. It is equally important to understand that there is a difference between who the Founders were and who the Framers were. The Founders were actively engaged in the revolutionary concept of separating the colonies from Britain and taking up arms to do so in the Revolutionary War. Many folks are not aware that the revolution was also clearly a civil war between colonists seeking independence and loyalists determined to preserve ties with England and the Crown. Many Americans fought against each other, claiming the right to determine the future of the 13 colonies. The brave Founders, while risking their lives at the gallows, met to determine the fate of the colonies and issued a stern Declaration of Independance, listing the basic principals of American freedom and 13 greiveances against the British Crown. Even though the Declaration was prepared to be signed on July 2, 1776, it took two additional days to secure the signatures necessary to formally adopt the document (hence the official July 4 birth date). But what form of government did the Founders design? NOT the government we have today. I stress NOT the government we have today because the Founders learned the original structure was to fail and fail miserbly under what was known as the Articles of Confederation, a system that united the new states in name only. A system favoring states' rights over a central government was doomed from the start. It was after a series of events that the Framers got together in Philadelphia to create a new structure of government based upon new American principles of liberty and freedom, but with a reliance on a new form of federalism. The Constitution that came from this convention is the blueprint that many Americans misunderstand or are truly ignorant of. Many know we have a Bill of Rights, but do not know why. Many know we have amendments, but do not know how many and for what. Far too few know that there are Articles in the Constitution that delineate the powers enumerated to each branch of government. As it was once quipped, "Our great government was designed by genuises to be run by fools." This comment has never been more true than today! So while celebrating our great nation's birthday, think about the differences between the Founders and the Framers and how they shaped America and how they expected the American people to KNOW how and why the system they chose to design was put in place for all of our benefit. A "tip of the hat" to those genuises that created our uniquely American government. Happy Birthday America! For more on this topic, check out my new book where it all is explained.
Daniel R. Rubin is an Attorney, Educator, Lecturer and National Award Winning Author. He is a recently retired adjunct professor of American History who also taught Advanced Placement United States Government and American Politics in Venice, Florida.