Tom Brokaw called the generation that grew up in hardships of the Depression to win a war against Nazi Germany "The Generation."
They were followed by a corrupt generation that create the current economic and social mess.
I contend that the same pattern happened at the birth of our nation.
The Founders were part of a great generation that rose against a corrupt monarchy and established a Constitutional Union.
The US founders were not able to resolve the problem of slavery, and hoped their children would.
The generations that followed the founders was an intellectually corrupt group that brought more harm into the world than good.
The intellectuals of the Founders generation were typified by Adam Smith, who showed that a free society will out produce an enslaved one, and Benjamin Franklin who advanced multiple disciplines.
The generation that followed was typified by Hegel who brought forth an ugly new dialectics based on paradox and conflict.
The generation that followed the Founders brought us the partisan divide that continues to dominate politics.
The corrupt intellectuals of the day not only failed to address slavery. They came up with lame ideologies to justify slavery.
The thinking of this corrupt generation is typified by the German philosopher Hegel (1770-1831), who created a new dialectics that used the reflexive paradox to claim freedom was slavery and slavery freedom.
Hegelian dialectics used a device called historicism in which a pseudo intellectual presents a fantastical view of history driven by thesis anti-thesis conflicts. The intellectual then claims to be able to deduce the future from the conflicts.
The papers of the 1820s were filled with fantastical histories and pseudo science to justify the prejudices and partisanship of the day.
So, while the work of the Founders laid the foundation for a free market and constitutional republic; the generations that followed spewed forth with corrupt ideologies and fantastical histories that spun historical events in really ugly ways.
This model of a great generation followed by a corrupt one is important to remember because our current understanding of the Founders is very much influenced by the spinning and the filters of the generations that followed.
The early 1800s were an intellectually corrupt time rife with partisanship that culimated in the Civil War and laid the intellectual foundation for the totalitarian regimes that caused so much destruction in the following century.
This intellectually corrupt and partisan generation that followed the founders is the group that wrote the history of the Founders. They are the ones that laid the foundation for all of the messes that we are in today.
Everything we see in the world is filtered. So, in our pursuit of truth, we must understand that indiviual views of history are always adversely affected by these filters.