Why are you focused on individuals instead of philosophy and how it was spread? The miracle of democracy is the group mind that can see the bigger picture better than any individual and can achieve far more than individuals. Great leaders are important to any movement, but the reason democracy, as it was once taught, is important, is because great leaders like Stalin and Hitler can lead to terrible things like the communist revolutions, and what happened in Nazi Germany. The US seems to be back on the path of great leaders instead of a great democracy. Perhaps you want to reevaluate what is important for your students to know? Worshiping the pharaoh (or our party or our president) is surely a wonderful feeling but it is not what democracy is about.I am trying to create a small list of overlooked founders to provide some context for my students. While they are not going to be tested over it I believe the story that surrounds the Declaration of Independence is far more interesting and dramatic than just a bunch of delegates crammed into a small space.
Are there any founders, specifically those involved in the Declaration of Independence, that are overlooked yet had more influence than most understand.
Here are a few that I have right now:
John Dickinson: He opposed the war for independence, but he did not oppose independence. He was very influential during the First Continental Congress and throughout the Second Continental Congress until the vote for independence began to sway towards favoring the war. Despite his opposition to violence, he still remained an avid supporter of independence.
Caesar Rodney: The state of Delaware would have not voted for Independence if not for Rodney. He made a late midnight ride to help nullify the vote of George Read.
George Wythe: Was considered one of the best legal minds of his time. He was very influential within Virginia and influenced many future political stars such as: Thomas Jefferson, Henry Clay, James Madison, John Breckinridge, and John Marshall.
"Give me liberty or give me death" Patrick Henry
"God's law is 'right reason'. When perfectly understood it is called "wisdom". When applied by government in regulating human relations it is called "justice". The Roman statesman, Cicero, was essential reading and should be today. Right reason is along the lines of scientific thinking, not reading the Bible that did not exist in his time.
"it is foolish to strive with what we cannot avoid; we are born subjects, and to obey God is perfect liberty; he that does this, shall be free, safe, and quiet; all his actions shall succeed to his wishes." Seneca, he was also essential reading and his notion of God is not the God of Abraham, but the reality atheist deny.
It appears Christianity has greatly distorted our understanding of democracy since the 1958 National Defense Education act and dropping the Greek and Roman classics, leaving moral training to the church. To understand God with literacy in Greek and Roman classics is very different from understanding God and what God has to do with Democracy without that literacy. This is hugely important because, without the classical understanding of God, we get presidents who ignore science and especially ignoring global warming makes denial of science very serious. Confusing science with amoral technology is also a serious mistake.
What is important for your students to learn?
FreeMasons would be perhaps the most important group to know about when speaking of the beginning or our nation.