The Founding Fathers : An Age Of Realism

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Richard Hofstadter, in the Chapter one, “The Founding Fathers: An Age of Realism,” of his book, “The American Political Tradition,” expresses his ideas of the conflicts that the Founding Fathers of US may have had when they created the Constitution of United States. Right from the beginning of the Chapter, Hofstadter starts with a quote from Horace White that the Constitution of United States “assumes that the natural state of mankind is state of war, and that the carnal mind is at enmity with God.” It is no wonder that Hofstadter, who understood Founding Father’s pain, used such quote. In Hofstadter’s view, the Founding Fathers, torn between democracy and monarchy, the two extremities, set out to create a government in which both could be applied and satisfy both the mobs and the elites of society.
The first dilemma that Founding Fathers faced was that common men cannot be trusted but the government must be based on their consent. Hofstadter states that the Founding Fathers “had a vivid Calvinistic sense of human evil and damnation and believed with Hobbes that men are selfish and contentious.” The Founding Fathers did not believe in men to completely hand over power to govern to common men. Their hypothesis that men are evil was worsened if not persisted when Shays Rebellion happened. Such notions and events pushed Founding Fathers away from complete democracy, as their distrust of man was “first and foremost a distrust of the common man and democratic rule.” Hofstadter
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