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. Doc Sinn

    Someone needs to tell the truth here.

    Our founding fathers, while worthy of respect, were slave owners who didnt even allow women to vote.

    Its is our desire to cling to the old way of thinking that has held us back.

    Lets start talking about tomorrow, not yesterday.

    July 4, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. jeff warino

    the founding fathers would would be at a loss for thought – once they took in all the changes in technology and and social reforms and had a look at how politics have evolved and saw how there policys and respect for the constitution have survived the test of time ithink they would be proud – as for flag pins any one can wear a s
    ymbal – it doesnt mean anything – it what you are inside that counts

    July 4, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. Woman4Obama

    I am growing more & more disgusted with the media's coverage of the 2 candidates.Why is it that no one questions John McCain 100 year war campaign? It's awfully sad that a former general(Wes Clark) who has no obligation to do any reporting at all had to call McCain on his experience.Especially when we get 2 or 3 days of scrutiny about flagpins & campaign finance.Didn't Scott McClellan call into question the media's oversight to scrutinize Bush's WMD theory & the choice to go to war in Iraq?Instead you guys are trying to beat up the general who has the same if not more experience than John McCain himself.Shouldn't we as americans question John McCain's experience or motive for that matter especially in the face of 100 years as he proposed!

    July 4, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. Sue

    I disagree...I think the founding fathers would be very proud of the fact that over 200 years later .....all of their hard work on the documents of The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution still holds up today. We are not perfect....but neither was the country then....we do the best we can....make mistakes and fall sometimes, but in the end we get up and move on. It is amazing to me that in this modern world we are still able to refer to the documents for guidance.
    Happy Birthday America!

    July 4, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. California Gold

    To Dems be losers, the only thing the majority of voters hold against McCain are his campaign policies, his vulgar mouth, his well documented temper blow ups, his ignorance of issues, and rigidity with it comes to maintaining war "100 years" worth of war.f

    Don't think his relatives careers have much to do with anything.

    Unless you are a loonie who thinks that what other people "believe".

    July 4, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Susan

    That's for sure! Everything is 'so' political' these days.

    July 4, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. Strom "Hussien" Thurmond

    Common etiquette holds that you don’t say bad things about dead people.

    However, there should be some accountability for what a person says, does, and conducts their business over their life. I, for one, came not to like Jesse Helms very much at all.

    In the space where certainly some will praise him, it is important to say that not all memories of him are positive, nor do they deserve to be fleeting memories.

    OK. I’ll stop there.

    – – – – – – – – – – – –
    "People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

    July 4, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. BUSHED!!!!

    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.........CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE !!!!!!................
    Obama 08!!!!
    Be QUICK TO JUDGE YOURSELF BUT SLOW TO JUDGE OTHERS.......BUSHED!!!!!!

    July 4, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  9. Drew for President!!

    Drew's comment is the best. In addition, I suggest the the candidates insert metal rods across their shoulders so that their arms are extended permanently as well. Then they can show their devout patriotism by their facial tatoo and their religious faith by becoming a walking cross! My guess they would get at least 40% of the votes without saying a word!

    July 4, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. Randy

    CNN stop reigniting the flag pin stuff. It was stupid then to argue about, and it's stupid now to argue about. All our presidential candidates love their country, end of story.

    July 4, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. Tennessee Mike

    I believe our Founding Fathers would be appalled at the extent to which individual freedoms and personal responsibilities have been taken away by the federal government, and disdained by the populace as a whole, respectively.

    This republic (not a democracy) was founded on individual liberties and personal responsibility. Now, everyone wants a handout from the government, or wants to sue someone, and the Federal Government wants to control all that we do.

    No doubt in my mind that Jefferson, and even Lincoln, would be disheartened by the two-party political system, and would be voting Libertarian in 2008, the only choice for Americans who believe in Liberty and responsibility.

    Barr / Root 2008

    July 4, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. DeeJam - Los Angeles

    I think they would be proud. Remember, they would be comparing our nation to their former nation where they were taxed for everything.

    July 4, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    Yes, the founding Fathers are displeased. If they could come back from the grave, I am sure they would slap a lot of people.

    A flag pin is a non issue. A lot of people have not always been proud of this country, that is nothing new.

    July 4, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  14. Code Blue

    Ron Paul would bring respect for the constitution back.

    July 4, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. Tennessee Mike

    Dave K,

    You better look at McCain more closely, his sponsoring of McCain / Feingold proves that he's all about squelching individual liberties, not expanding them.

    I don't believe McCain can be legitimately called "conservative", he's basically a rerun of Lyndon Johnson, an economic liberal who is a warmongerer. Obama is the same old McGovern / Carter / Mondale/ Dukakis liberal swill in a pretty package.

    July 4, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. OBAMA MAMA

    I find it interesting that Michelle Obama gets so much flack for saying she is really proud of her country for the first time and statistics like this show many Americans feel the same way.

    Roland Martin please bring this up during your next discussion. As African Americans most of us are "really" proud of our country now because we have never seen this country get behind a candidate like Barack focusing more on his character in spite of his color. This is after all Martin Luther King's dream realized. When Obama is actually voted in as President of the United States it will take "everyone's" pride (no matter what color you are) to another level!

    July 4, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. WORST PERSON!!!!

    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...........
    DISAPPOINTED That IDIOTS LIKE OLD TRAIL DOG STILL EXIT ...............SAY DOG ......BE QUICK TO JUDGE YOURSELF......
    BUT SLOW TO JUDGE OTHERS!!!!!!!!BY THE WAY ARE YOU RELATED TO ...BRIAN KNOXVILLE TN ?

    July 4, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  18. Cathy in MD

    If the question is, “Are you proud TO BE an American?” then it’s not surprising that the numbers of those who are “extremely proud” and “very proud” are down slightly from 2002 and 2003. The failed policies of the Bush presidency and the unnecessary, never-ending war in Iraq are to blame. The problem with this kind of poll is that there are many Americans who would never admit to being anything but “proud,” just like there are many who wouldn’t dare admit to being racists. But they are. You’d need to be a fly on the wall in America’s kitchens to get the honest numbers. Maybe the question should be, “Are you proud of what America stands for – what it means to be an American – as it was set forth by those 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence?” … who, by the way, wore no flag pins. They didn’t need to.

    July 4, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  19. Freedom?

    The Founding Fathers would want to move back to England if they saw America today

    July 4, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. akc66

    Much evil has happened in this country...as in any other.
    American values will never be able to totally erradicate human greed and corruption.

    But, despite the hypocrisy, the errors, the setbacks, and the uncertainty, the value of the words written 232 years ago still ring true and are cherished by most every American.
    They have, in varying degrees, inspired and been adopted by so many countries around the world, including the country they defiantly challenged on that fateful day.

    If I could do anything that could accomplish that and stand the test of time, I know I would be proud.

    God Bless All of YOU and God Bless America!

    July 4, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. Cory in Little Rock

    Really, I don't think the America of today is what the founding fathers had in mind.

    This country was founded by radical white guys who wanted a place for white guys to do what they wanted. FREEDOM?... Women and minorities need not apply.

    They were the "radicals" and "terrorists" of their age. They are the ones who invented "guerilla" warfare, the same strategy that the "terrorists" of today use.

    Many Americans are proud of this heritage... it just so happens that most of these belong to the same group that "FREEDOM" would have applied to back then.

    I'm not one of "those people"... But I would die for my country.

    July 4, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. Walt

    Wearing a flag pin is no evidence or real patriotism.
    A presidential candidate should be free to choose to wear or not wear a flag pin just as every other citizens is free to make that choice. And no irrelevant, partisan judgment should be made about it.

    July 4, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. Howard "Hussien" Taft

    JB ...

    Don't know if you are an Obama or McCain backer but, BOY, do I agree with everyting you posted in that message.

    Thanks for an intelligent message.

    July 4, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. offwallst nyc

    What will America look like with OBAMA as President:

    VERY DEPRESSING.......AS IN THE DEPRESSION OF 1929...REMEMEMBER THE LAST PRESIDENT THAT RAISED TAXES IN A RECESSION..IT LED TO A DEPRESSION..IT IS SAD FOR THAT A COUNTRY OF 300 MILLION PEOPLE THE BEST THAT THE DEMOCRATS CAN DO IS HAVE SOMEONE LIKE OBAMA...

    THE GOOD NEWS FOR REPUBLICANS IS....IF THIS GUY GETS ELECTED...AND SETS BACK AMERICA WITH HIS LIBERAL VIEWS...YOU WILL NOT SEE A DEMOCRAT IN THE WHITE HOUSE FOR AT LEAST 2O YEARS.....SOMETHING LIKE IN NYC WHEN DAVID DINKINS DESTROYED NYC...REPUBLICANS CLEANED UP HIS MESS AND HAVE BEEN IN CITY HALL EVER SINCE....AND DONE A DAM GOOD JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    MCCAIN WILL WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    IF NOT "GOD HELP AMERICA"

    July 4, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. Cory in Little Rock

    RAYMOND DUKE... no relation to DAVID DUKE?

    1. Slave traders DID run around Africa and steal people... Sure some of the slaves were traded by African leaders, but that was at the introduction of the slave trade.

    Once Europe saw the money, they skipped the middle man and enslaved the middle man.

    And as far as your understanding of the native american plight... I guess it's cool if I "conquered" your grandmother for her purse....

    Idiot.

    July 4, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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