On the Founding Fathers


A correspondent very graciously sent me a note with regard to yestereve's post of the excerpt from the biography of Washington. This lit a fire that is always at least slumbering under a pile of ash, and I thought I would share the response. There is nothing particularly profound or informative, but merely some surface impressions.

There was a time at which I believed all of the revisionist "stuff" about him [George Washington]--an incompetent leader, a cold and distant unfriendly man, a dullard. But as I have come to know him better (largely through trips to his house when I return to my "native land" as I call it, and through reading some of his own writing, I realize that were people to judge me by demeanor (which, of course they do all the time) I would be set with the same labels, and yet, I have to confess a certain amount of confusion about this. I am not deliberately cold nor distant, but someone who does not know me well will often discribe me as aloof and terrifying. (You can't even begin to imagine how funny this is without having seen me--I'm about as terrifying as a gerbil.) So I have felt a certain kinship in judgment.

Also, I find that as learn more about these Founding Fathers, while I still respect all for their sacrifice and commitment, I fine myself liking some better than others. I used to profoundly admire Jefferson, and as I study more, I find much less to like, while still a great deal to admire. I used not to care much for John Adams, but as I learn more, I realize that in some ways, he is a hero to me. The tender and caring relationship with Abagail; his ability to finally resume the friendship so long broken with Jefferson, his intergrity (he defended those accused in the Boston Massacre) and his commitment to the cause of liberty. Each of the fathers speaks to me a little differently as I learn more about them. And when I suspend judging them, I learn so much more from them.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on June 24, 2004 6:48 AM.

Prayer Requests--Solmenity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist was the previous entry in this blog.

A Reflection from St. Robert Bellarmine is the next entry in this blog.

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