Was the United States founded by a radical right-wing group?Just by stipulating “radical right wing groups” as the instigator of the action this opens up an almost unlimited list of theoretical...

Was the United States founded by a radical right-wing group?

Just by stipulating “radical right wing groups” as the instigator of the action this opens up an almost unlimited list of theoretical and actual possible players. Any “right wing radical group” is by definition, at least according to Combs, is comprised of those” who want to protect the system as it currently exists or to help the system return to an earlier status from which, in their view, it has mistakenly wandered”. The possible targets could be any religious or political group, any nationality, and any specific sub-segment of society. The targets could be and often are police, same-sex marriage proponents, equal rights proponents, welfare recipients, the homeless, or any group that does not share their views. It could be the “Target de Jour” for any disgruntled segment. The US was founded by a radical right wing group and was comprised of many splinter groups of other right wing groups. It was the commonality of our goal that coalesced these divergent Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Huguenots and other persecuted groups, and many other smaller but just as important similarly minded individuals, to forcefully obstruct the continued British rule. Do you agree?

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Historians have spent the last 40 years demonstrating that the Founders were, by and large, a conservative lot that sought independence from Great Britain only when pushed to do so. It's pretty much a settled question among revolutionary historians.

They were hardly radical in the sense that we would use the word today- most did not seek a reordering of society, and indeed were deeply suspicious of the democratic tendencies that they feared they had unleashed. I agree that they weren't trying to preserve the status quo as such, but they were trying to secure their own power and wealth. The Constitution was a profoundly conservative document which deliberately rolled back many of the "democratical" reforms that had occurred at the state level. It wasn't even close to being as conservative as many wanted, but, as many social historians like Alfred Young have shown, pressure from people "out of doors," i.e. common people, caused them to temper the more blatantly anti-democratic measures.

Historian Carl Becker once observed that the Revolution was a struggle over home rule, but also over who would rule at home. The majority of the Founders never envisioned that it would be anyone other than elites. Right-wing radical group? I wouldn't go that far, but they weren't exactly wild-eyed revolutionaries either. They had an entirely different view of what the Revolution was about than the slaves, small farmers, and urban workers did. 

Many monographs have been released on the topic in recent years. Woody Holton's Forced Founders and Terry Bouton's Taming Democracy are two that deal with Virginia and Pennsylvania, respectively, while Michael Gross's 1776 classic The Minutemen and Their World deals with Massachusetts. 

marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Conservatism and Radicalism are two different categories altogether. 

Conservatives are those that wish to affect a more gradual, beneficient change in our country, while maintaining whole, pure, and simplistic ideals.  There have been those who have compared it to "Right Wing Politics" in the sense that it supports liberty, free markets, limited government, a strong national defense, and high moral and religious values.  But, Conservatism is more than that.  According to Viscount Hailsham. The Conservative Case. Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1959:

Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, and corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself."

Radicalism, on the other hand, seeks political reform in more drastic, dramatic (often violent) ways.  Radicals seek to enact more government control, more regulated markets and economy, and fewer freedoms for the masses.  Often called Liberals (or Left Wing), they are the ones who want to eliminate prayer in the schools, allow abortions and same sex marriages, mandate health care for all, and enact more gun control laws. 

belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Because of the extraordinary shift in political and social norms in the last 400 years, it is impossible to judge the actions of the Founders based on modern interpretations of "Radicalization," or "Right-Wing." The American concept of the political Right and Left is entirely different from the European model; now regress that by 400 years and move the norms to a Euro-centric world, and the comparison falls apart. The best you could say is that the Founders sought freedom from Royalist government oppression and government-vs-individual rights, and that is similar to some aims of by the American Right today.

Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As the earlier posts discussed, I don't believe that you can qualify the Founders by one of a modern descriptor like "radical right wing", but they were certainly radical in the sense that they not only sought change in their current state of  government, but actively went about to deliver that change in the form of revolution. If you look at one of the revolutionary groups like the Sons of Liberty in Boston, there is definitely a comparison to be made.  They wanted to shrug off the vice-grip hold of Great Britain over its colonies; like post #7 said, there are similarities to the current American right in the sense of moving away from 'big government.'

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is difficult to describe politics of the past by today’s standards.  Much has changed.  The United States was formerly a colony.  This is the thing to remember.  As a colony, the people felt that they had no rights.  They wanted the opportunity to make their own choices.  They were not trying to be another England.  In fact, they did not want to be like England.  They felt that Americans had their own unique style and deserved their own country.  So I do not believe that the founders of America were a right-wing radical group.  They were their own radicals.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No, it was not. The so-called Founding Fathers wanted to preserve their positions of wealth and influence (for the most part) and were very skeptical of the ability of the "common people" to be trusted with making important decisions regarding the governing of the new country. There was much debate and disagreement about the wisdom of revolting from Great Britain. If Parliament had treated the colonies differently, it probably would not have happened for many years or by way of a revolutionary war.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do not agree that the US was founded by a radical right wing group, at least not if you are defining such groups in the way Combs does.  The US rebels were clearly not trying to defend the status quo.  Neither were they trying to return to some earlier way that was better than what they had.  Therefore, they were not a right wing radical group by this definition.