A Look at America’s Founding Conservatives
Outside scholarly circles, or academia, we really must admit that there is not an overwhelming public desire to learn as much or more than we ought too about — revolution, civil war, the Left, the Right, conservatism, or liberalism; moreover, the political representation of each category mentioned.
As for me I really don’t know why this is the way. It could be that our original grade school teachers didn’t put much stock into it; subsequently, the students became victims insofar as the lack of Founding history knowledge ingrained into the teacher. This phenomenon is especially true given the early school years of teaching. It furthermore is loaded within the state and federal governments insofar as there does not exist a criteria for elementary education teachers within the district level. Therefore, the entire scope of the American revolution exists somewhere between one’s Social Studies teacher having split duty with whoever is teaching that particular history. From that point it only gets worse because of the drop off in history requirements, and let’s face it — unless the school employs a teacher whose specialty is Early American History and this person comes to school every day with hair on fire traveling at about 5 mach per hour and whose teaching style is so good one would miss every other class just to be well enough to sit with him/her!
Normally what sparks an interest in most younger students is the story behind Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania
as written by John Dickinson. Mr. Dickinson’s biography was titled, John Dickinson: Conservative Revolutionary which for me prompted the question could a person be a revolutionary and conservative at the same time?
Seriously I was amazed to learn that in the buildup to independence, Dickinson was the most trusted man in America and the second most famous American in the world, after Benjamin Franklin. His contempories credited him with single-handedly rallying the colonies in the fight against British oppression. It was only because of Dickinson said one American in 1774 “that there was a present disposition to depose the tyranny in Parliament.”
Moreover, John Dickinson’s Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania published between 1767 and 1768, were the most eloquent defense of liberty penned in the colonies up to that point and the hit of the decade. Almost every colonial newspaper carried them, and they were republished in a dozen pamphlet editions soon afterward.
In an age when Americans read widely and enthusiastically, there was no better path to fame than to write well. Yet as consequential as these men were in their lifetimes, they have been largely forgotten today. (I will produce for our readers a list of some very famous founders at a later time.)
Please allow me to write out the basic tenets of conservative thought and belief. Among the staunchest and most zealous defenders of American rights. They were nonetheless Patriots, who committed themselves to preserve as much of the old social order as possible. Many of their core tenets, in fact, would be surprisingly familiar to modern conservatives: Their faith in history and experience; their mistrust of theory and dogmatism; their support for venerable social institutions; their reverence for the military; their insistence on protecting private property over equality; their belief in yoking the interests of the rich and powerful to the government; and their devotion to free market capitalism.