The American Revolution was a war fought against an aristocracy that was dominated by corporate predators; for one, the East India Company.
King George III had no more control over them than does Barack Obama over the current crop of corporatists. They still buy all the influence they need.
While at the time of the Revolution, over 200 years ago, there were certainly some who wished to emulate their British cousins; there were others who saw thru these schemes and opposed them.
On the conservative side were men like Washington, Hamilton and Adams who created the Federalist Party. They sought a strong central gov’t in order to build a standing military, levy new taxes, create a national bank, and legislate benefits that favored business–big business.
On the liberal side, what became the Democratic Party, were men like Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. They opposed a national bank, general taxes, a standing army, and the rise of monopolistic commercial enterprises.
While they championed free enterprise for man, they realized from bitter experience that over-sized private enterprise corporations inhibited individual entrepreneurship.
Also, contrary to fundamentalist beliefs, Jefferson and most of the other Founding Fathers were Deists. They perceived Jesus Christ as a prophet, not a god. Jefferson even wrote and published his own Bible. He simply removed all the obvious superstitions and “miracles.”
He was, of course, a man of his time. While he wrote extensively in some of his 16,000 letters of his opposition to the slave trade, describing slavery as an “abominable crime” and a “moral depravity,” he also owned a large plantation in Virginia with some 200 slaves.
One of those slaves was Sally Hemings, a mulatto half-sister to his wife, whom he took as a mistress upon his wife’s death and had 6 children with.
Jefferson believed strongly in the philosophy of John Locke, who lived a generation before him. He believed in the fundamental natural rights of man, as opposed to those who believe that “rights” are merely privileges earned by man thru authoritative discipline and responsibility (which, of course, plays square into their privileged sense of few).
Jefferson agreed with Locke that man has natural rights solely by virtue of being born. As Locke wrote, “All men by nature are equal…no one ought harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions…”
In his Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote, ”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…”
You will note that Jefferson believed that the term happiness is inclusive of property, not the other way around.
Jefferson saw the need for a Bill of Rights to be added to the Constitution. He wrote to James Madison in 1787, “I will now tell you what I do not like. First, the omission of a bill of rights, providing…for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction of monopolies,…habeas corpus laws, and trials by juries…. Let me add that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular…”
Jefferson threatened to refuse ratification by Virginia if they were not adopted. He also warned against an “artificial aristocracy [that] is mischievous in government.” This was perhaps his greatest contribution, albeit, his Federalist enemies prevailed in keeping it out of the Constitution. We’re still paying for that oversight.
While the Federalists perceived the common people as “rabble,” and believed in the Calvinist notion that wealth was a blessing, Jefferson argued the opposite. All of his suggestions were incorporated into the Constitution, except for that of “freedom from monopolies of commerce” and a prohibition against a permanent army.
Jefferson’s opposition was to prevent companies from growing so large that they could dominate entire industries or have the power to influence the people’s gov’t.
We’re now at that point, and Thomas Jefferson saw it…