July 4th, 2008
09:48 AM ET
6 years ago

Poll: Founding fathers would be disappointed in America

Americans say the founding fathers would likely be disappointed with the state of the country.
Americans say the founding fathers would likely be disappointed with the state of the country.

(CNN) - As Americans celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, an overwhelming majority say the 56 signers of that document would be displeased at how the country has turned out.

According to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, close to 70 percent say that if the signers of the Declaration of Independence could see America today they would be disappointed, while just under 30 percent say the founding founders would be happy with the country 232 years later.

Americans didn't always feel that way - in 2001, 54 percent thought that the signers would be pleased with the state of the country today; now that figure is down to just 29 percent.

But the poll shows a majority of Americans are still proud of their country - 61 percent say they are extremely proud to be an American, and another 28 percent say they are very proud. Those figures are virtually unchanged from 2005, although they are down a bit from 2002 and 2003.

Should a presidential candidate always wear a flag pin on his lapel? Forty-one percent say yes, and another 13 percent say a candidate should frequently wear one. Only about one in ten say a candidate should never wear a flag pin on his lapel.

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soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Hispanic For McCain

    LATINOS for McCAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He will win the Hispanic Votes this election count on that. All you Liberals Dem hate that guess what TOO BAD!!! why because DEM that Hispanic votes for Granted. Latinos people ARE NOT STUPID, we all know how a Fruad like Obama is. He Flip Flop on everything now. How can the American People trust a man like that. Hispanic people are going to decide the Election and that is going to be John McCain. FLA will go to McCain, OH, PA, MI will all go to McCain. He will put Three to Five states that are Blue to RED!!!!!. so all my Latinos people we all know a true winner and a trye AMERICAN HERO!!!! John McCain

    Hispanic for McCain

    July 4, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  2. mark cauble

    The Founders would be very happy to see that we still have a democracy. They would be even happier to find out that it was still the one they had designed and that it was working as they had intended. The most optomistic of the Founders thought that democracy in America would only last a hundred years at the most.

    July 4, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. Rick

    Disappointed. They would cringe at the freedoms the individual has lost and at the entanglements the government has gotten itself into.

    July 4, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. JB

    Someone please answer me:

    Why do we care what a presidential or congressional nominee believes? Isn't their job to represent the wishes of their constituents???

    In the real world it works like this:
    A CEO turns to a VP and says you need to go do this. The VP could agree with the action, or disagree. It doesn't matter. If the VP goes and does it, he keeps his job. If not, he risks being fired.

    I believe the people are the CEO in this example. It is the job of the Pres to represent the wishes of the people, end of story.

    To try and find ONE PERSON who happens to believe exactly what the majority of people believe is an exercise in futility.

    Somewhere along the way, we got turned around. I want someone who listens and acts. For example: The majority of people believe abortion should be legal. End of story. I don't care what McCain thinks. If he messes with that he should be fired for not following the wishes of the people.

    Just my thoughts, would like to hear yours.

    July 4, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. THE TRUTH shalt set YOU Free!!!!!

    TEXAS FOR OBAMA ............. It doesn't matter if you wear a flag pin. A lot of people wear crosses that don't believe in God. It is what is in your heart that counts.
    John McCain doesn't wear a flag pin – no one questions him. Did all of the other candidates running for President or any other office wear flag pins? What is the big deal?......DITTO !!!! YOU said it ALL and it is the TRUTH .....GOD bless AMerica!

    July 4, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  6. Jose'

    I'm sure the Founding Fathers would be disappointed.

    Hell, I'm disappointed.

    How could America pick such an ignorant person such as Obama as a nominee for President??

    July 4, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. J Johns

    Geo. Bush has done more to destroy that original dream of liberty and the pursuit of happiness than any single individual since America was founded. He's hurt American's, not just individually but America's reputation as a world leader and symbol of democracy. Bush is the absolute worst and has made many a Founder turn in his grave.

    July 4, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. Judgement over experience

    Of course they would be. The repuglicans have stripped our privacy and freedoms, the nation is in shambles thanks to them and the repuglicans have made this a country where the rich thrive and the poor get poorer. And Steve, If that were true than name one issue where he has flip flopped...of course you can't. Oh I know you had Mcwar in mind when you posted that comment, ok, I understand.

    July 4, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. Larry in texas

    I understand why a majority of Americans think our founding fathers would not be proud of America Today. We have failed to live up the our potential. Especially in this lone super power era. After the Soviet empire fell, I said to many what a great opportunity this was for the US to spread it's influence by example. I knew the the final analysis by historians would rest on how we behaved as the lone super power. Like the head of a family, whose members defer to the autority of the head because they feel the head is deserving of authority based on the moral example he sets, similarly the world would defer to America's authority if we behaved morally in international affairs.... Well you know the rest of the story.

    July 4, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. Texas Trail Dog

    THA'T FOR SURE THEY WOULD BE. WHEN WE CAN PUT SOMEONE LIKE PATRICK HENRY IN A POSITION TO BE OUR PRESIDENT I IMAGINE THEY'RE ROLLING OVER IN THEIR GRAVES. THE PEOPLE ARE YELLING ABOUT WHAT BUSH HAS DONE. THEY HAVEN'T SEEN ANYTHING YET. WAIT UNTIL THIS ANTI-CHRISTIAN, ANTI, WHITE AND GANGSTER GETS THROUGH WITH AMERICA.

    July 4, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. Lee, Mays Landing New Jersey

    Flag pins are phony patriotism. Real patriots respect the laws and Constitution of the United States.

    The USA would never fall to a band of criminals based in Afghanistan-Pakistan using airliners for terror or even knocking down buildings. Far greater damage to the United States has been caused by the political nachinations of those that tried to take advantage of it, by getting us into this phony war in Iraq rather than catching the perpetrators in Afghanistan, by ignoring the law, by using "signing statements" in bills, by polticizing science, justice and religion, by putting us in debt that will last generations, and by using the politics of Fear and hatred.

    July 4, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. Brian

    I think as a whole the founding fathers would love our country.

    We had some successes:
    - Foundation of Freedom
    - The chance that people of our country can make a better tomorrow
    - Heroism of the explorers
    - The expansion of our Country to become a Super Power
    - Civil Rights
    - WW2, fighting a War that needed to be fought and turning our enemies into our friends.
    - The ability to defend ourselves

    We have some failures:
    - The decent to Civil War
    - The unfair treatment of minorities
    - The ability of our current President to ignore the Constitution and get away with it

    Considering everything, this country has a lot more positives than negatives.

    Ben Franklin quotes:

    -All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones.
    - Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
    - Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.
    - Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.
    - Experience is a dear teacher, but fools will learn at no other.
    - Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.
    - Those who govern, having much business on their hands, do not generally like to take the trouble of considering and carrying into execution new projects. The best public measures are therefore seldom adopted from previous wisdom, but forced by the occasion.
    - For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise.

    July 4, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. Dave K

    The framers were vastly worried about the expanding power of government over the individual liberties of the people, so the rate of expanding government would make them cringe. Furthermore, if you recall in Federalist paper Number 10, Madison warned against special interest groups and lobbyist growing power beyond that of ordinary citizens. Lastly, George Washington extolled tales of caution in his Farewell Address about having a two-party system and strongly encouraged more political efficacy and involvement, particularly by "third-parties" that should have equitable power to the other parties.

    Government has been moving in the wrong direction according to the Original Intent of the Framers of the Constitution, with both Republicans and Democrats to blame. Both have allowed government to bloat up and swallow individual rights and have allowed special interests to be the dominating force in Washington. But ultimately it is the people who have failed the Framers because of their unwillingness to vote for a third-party. Whether or not this is the right course of action is up for debate in the present day, but is it what the Framers had in mind? Absolutely not.

    Ron Paul had the most Constitutionally sound platform going into this race, but McCain is the only legitimate candidate remaining who is committed to fighting special interests and working with other parties. Is it enough? No. Is it a start in the right direction? Yes.

    McCain 08

    July 4, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. not important

    John McCain wants to continue the Iraq war. McCain says that he will bring "an honorable end" to the Iraq war. Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger said the same thing about the Vietnam war in 1969.

    July 4, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  15. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Bush has taken this country in such a wrong direction it's frightening. His unyielding trampling of laws, the constitution, and the will of the people make it easy to see how dictators rise to power in other countries.

    Of course what's even more frightening is that after all of his lies, deceptions, and illegal and immoral war activities still about 25% of this country supposedly supports him! Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rove, and the rest should be ashamed to call themselves Americans.

    July 4, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  16. Nestor, Austin, TX

    Of course the founding fathers would be upset. They NEVER intended the Federal government to be so bloated. They wanted limited government with minimal involvement in Americans day to day lives. Today the government is trying to tell people what kind of lightbulbs they can or can not use. The government is WAY to involved in the everyday decisions of average Americans.

    About the lapel pin, it shouldn't matter if a candidate wears one. A flag pin doesn't mean someone cares about their country, and not wearing one doesn't mean they don't. What do their actions say? Do their actions show their patriotism? If this is a question about McCain and Obama, I think McCain loves this country and Obama really doesn't, not at least the way most Americans do. It has nothing to do with the lapel pin, it is about what they say and what they do.

    July 4, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  17. Rick from Pa

    If that's what leaders do, to demonstrate our love for our country, then they should wear one.

    Obama are you listening?

    July 4, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  18. Abraham " Hussien" Lincoln

    The founding fathers were not infallable.

    If they were, they wouldn't have accounted for certain members of the population at 3/5 ths of a whole person unlike with certain others members of the citizentry.

    Let us (US) stop the hero worship in this country. It will be our undoing if we don't.

    July 4, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. Drew - Wisconsin

    A legitimate presidential candidates will have the flag tattooed on their face. Any idiot can wear a pin.

    July 4, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. Dems be losers

    "Barack Obama is a true American and I am proud of him. His family has served in several US wars."

    I believe McCain's family has a rather long military background, that most of you left wing loonies hold against him.

    Tony in KY, you hit the nail right on the head!

    July 4, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Of course the founding fathers would be disappointed that it took Bush only 8 years to destroy 232 years of building America. And the sad part, is we Americans allowed him to do this. This is the exact conversation I had with a neighbor last night and it makes me sick to my stomach.

    July 4, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Of course Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and the rest would be deeply disappointed as they made clear in their writings they did NOT want America to emulate England and transform from a democratic republic into an empire...but ever since the cruel, hypocritical and arrogant folly of Manifest Destiny that is exactly what has happened, with the Cheney/Bush presidency taking that to new extremes that endanger America on every key level.

    July 4, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  23. Brian

    You know, George Washington NEVER wore a flag pin once...... Shall we question his patriotism?????

    July 4, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. JB

    That flag pin thing is STUPID!!!

    If somone doesn't wear it, does that make them unpatriotic? If you believe everyone should wear a pin, make it part of the uniform.

    Anyone see Office Space?

    I am seeing Jennifer Anniston complain about flair!

    10 pieces of flair are required. If you want 20, make 20 required.

    If you believe a flag pin shows your patriotism, make it required.

    Personally, I do not believe that not wearing the pin means you are unable to do your job, or, less patriotic.

    July 4, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  25. Texas Trail Dog

    CHARLES DOUGLAS LEMAY – ARE YOU UNDER A LONG SOMEWHERE. ARE YOU JUST LIKE ALL YOUR BROTHERS YOU CAN'T GET THE FACTS STRAIGHT. THE WOMEN MAY UNLIKEABLE TO YOU AAs BUT SHE CERTAINLY WASN'T TO MOST AMERICANS. SHE CAME IN WITH MORE VOTES THAN YOUR MAN OBAMA DID. SO AMERICA HAS AGAIN PUT THE MOST UNPOPULAR AND UN-QUALIFIED MAN IN THE OVAL OFFICE. HE'S NOT THERE YET BUT WITH THE BAD LUCK THIS COUNTRY HAS BEEN HAVING HE WILL BE SOON. THEN IN FOURS YEARS YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO FIND A SINGLE SOUL WHO VOTED FOR HIM. ANOTHER THING HILLARY YOU'RE GOING TO SUPPORT HIM? I WOULDN'T BECAUSE HIS PRESIDENCY WILL RUIN ANY CHANCE YOU HAVE OF BEING EVER THE PRESIDENT. AFTER OBAMA WE WON'T SEE ANOTHER DEMOCRAT AS PRESIDENT FOR MANY YEARS TO COME.
    COME ON AMERICA LET'S MAKE SURE WE GET THIS PATRICK HENRY INTO OFFICE.

    July 4, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
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