Why does it matter that we as Americans hold true to the ideals of the Founding Fathers? That is the question after all, at the heart of the matter. A quick lesson in American history may provide an answer. America started as a British colony. At the time of the Revolution, all the colonists were therefore subjects to King George III. Britain was in the midst of expanding its empire, but had competition from countries such as France, Spain, and Portugal. Staying ahead of that competition meant ships, arms, and armies. Trans-Atlantic commerce and the taxes that came with them were needed to finance this expansion. The primary grievance of the colonists was that, unlike their brothers across the pond, they had no say in the creation of the taxes being levied upon them, otherwise known as “taxation without representation”. As well as needing as much tax revenue as could be gotten from the Colonies, the Crown also needed to exploit America’s vast natural resources, timber in particular was in high demand to make ships for the Royal fleet. To a large degree, American industrial production was being dictated from overseas. It could be said then that the British economy was a command economy. To be fair, virtually all economies at that time were command economies. The colonists found themselves at a political and economic impasse with the Mother Country. They wanted a greater say in how their economy would be run, but their King and Parliament could hardly afford to part with considerable wealth coming from America, nor could they offer the Colonies the greater autonomy they demanded. For this, many of the colonists found themselves in direct opposition to their ruler, who they came to see as a tyrant. The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights were purposefully written by the Founders as the antidotes to tyranny, and to prevent homegrown tyrants from replacing the ones they’d just thrown off. It follows then that further we deviate from the ideals espoused in these founding documents, the more likely we are to slip back into the grasp of tyrants.
Conservatives see the American Revolution for what it was– a struggle for liberty and freedom against an oppressive government that the colonists had no and in making and little hope of influencing. They recognize that our founding documents were written for the express reason of providing a means for claiming and keeping their God-given rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. They recognize that freedom loving people forget these reasons for America’s founding at their peril.