My teeth clenched as I heard Michele Bachmann pronounce that she was running for President to carry forward the idea of the “Conservative Founding Fathers”.
At the time of the American Revolution, the politics of England and mirrored in the colonies were between the Tories and the Whigs
By any reasonable definition, the Tories were the Conservatives during the American Revolution.
They supported the Government, they were the members of the rich class who supported the rule of law through government force and the right of the King to overrule the legislature, based on the Divine Right of Kings – that Kings were selected by God to rule over men because men are not capable of ruling themselves.
Divine Providence and Predestination reinforced that the above must be true, because God decides everything – if God wanted there to be no King of England, there wouldn’t be one – so therefore Kings and the hereditary aristocracy must be tools of God’s power over man – if you oppose that, then you must be tools of Satan.
Following the Boston Tea Party, many of the Tories in America wanted to repay the damages to the British government and negotiate a compromise to avoid future conflict with England.
The opposition to the Tories was originally based on opposition to the King of England being a Roman Catholic. The Enlightenment had been brewing in Europe – mostly in France – for about 100 years, inspired partly by the Protestant reformation
The main theme of the Enlightenment was to break the connection between the Roman Catholic Church, the aristocracy and the Bible. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, James Madison and Thomas Payne were very much part of that “liberal” movement.
The above is a pretty clear statement of the same idea – that the “tea party” is turning history of the Founding Fathers on its head and is completely divorced from what actually happened to create this country. Conservatives by definition are not people who lead revolutions.
Somehow today this issue has devolved into “which of the founding fathers supported slavery?”…. which is really unfortunate, and all the “Conservative” talk show hosts are eagerly jumping into the discussion – stoking the fires for a 2012 Obama reelection.