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

Poll: Founding fathers would be disappointed in America

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/04/art.flag.gi.jpg caption="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. gary

    THATS 100% RIGHT.

    July 4, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. TRUTH


    July 4, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  3. Phil, FL

    I think the media is making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    I guess that's what happens when 24/7 becomes re-runs and something has to fill in the empty hours.

    It's a shame. There are a lot of newsworthy happenings in the world today. A flag pin or not a flag pin is so trivial compared to starvation, unemployment, home foreclosure, human rights violations, murder, etc.

    July 4, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. Steve

    Why is Obama so Wishy Washy on every issue?


    July 4, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. California Gold

    It makes no difference to me if a candidate wears a flag pin. If they do, I would hope it was made in the US.

    Happy 4th of July to CNN and to those who participate in the daily political ticker.

    July 4, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. Joe

    Yes, those that owned slaves would be really disappointed in how this country treats people today. Another riveting piece of news CNN.

    July 4, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. RJ, CA

    I think the founding fathers would be in awe over how well our great country has adapted to the complexities of this world - which they couldn't even have dreamed of. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA. I AM EXTREMELY PROUD OF YOU - ALWAYS HAVE BEEN, ALWAYS WILL BE!

    July 4, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |

    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?

    Barack Obama is a true American and I am proud of him. His family has served in several US wars. They can't back hero's. Barack and Michelle are proud of the USA. He is going to be one of our greatest Presidents'.

    July 4, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  9. Loretta from California

    Happy Independence Day, CNN. And thank you for all that you do for us. If I were close to you.....I would bring you BBQ later.

    Like ANY American, an American Presidential Candidate should be FREE, (as in FREEDOM) to choose when and where he or she will wear a Flag pen.

    Happy Independence Day America!!!!!

    July 4, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  10. pannie

    things the founding fathers would not like AT ALL
    women having the vote and property rights
    non white women having the same rights
    no slaves
    american indians having rights
    jurys with blacks and women sitting in judgement of white men
    women and minoritys owning guns
    not being able to buy and sell women for sex slaves
    not being able to buy and sell men and BOYS for sex slaves
    income tax
    property tax
    no free militias
    did i mention NO SLAVES

    July 4, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  11. Scott

    If Obama were to win the WH, will we keep our national anthem or will he change it to the Black Anthem?

    July 4, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  12. Charles Douglas Lemay


    We're on the verge of electing a black man as President.

    And a woman (albeit, a very unlikeable one) came in a
    close second.

    Most of us live in single-dwelling homes/apartments, and
    most of us have a phone, TV, car and computer.

    95% of us have some kind of employment.

    We don't worry about knocks on the door in the middle of
    the night, unless we've done something to cause us to
    worry (criminals with outstanding warrants).

    We don't have to worry about being stopped, anytime,
    anywhere, to show our "papers."

    If we don't like our present circumstances, we are totally
    free to go about trying to change/improve them.

    There may be some things still less than perfect about
    our country, but find me another one where all these
    things are enjoyed, by ALL the citizens...

    July 4, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  13. Pat

    Anyone can wear a pin! It's meaningless. ACTIONS mean more! Similarly, lots of folks kiss people when they greet them, and they basically hate them! It's an empty gesture. If you like wearing a pin, fine. But don't judge a person because they don't wear one. This campaign seems to be focusing on the wrong things. We're getting VERY picky! Let's LISTEN to the candidates and go with the one who addresses your concerns.

    July 4, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  14. Peter

    This poll, like most recent polls, is fairly ridiculous. Importantly, the poll doesn't say what question was asked, or how it was asked.

    Further, the poll doesn't ask an important follow-up question: why do Americans think that...?

    July 4, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  15. James

    The reason the Founders would be unhappy with the state of the country
    probably has something to do with how worried people are about flag pins on suits.

    July 4, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. Tony,....Ky.

    Americans will always be proud of their country. Unfortunately, the American govt is working as a totally different group! Opposed to our laws.
    Pandering to groups for votes/perks.....unwilling to help our citizens in time of need.....failing to secure our country and its citizens. THIS is what Americans hate the most. American dont hate their country......they hate their govt officials,(both parties), for turning their backs on us like a bunch of traitors! Just check the polls!!!

    July 4, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  17. Vicki

    The saddest thing about this article is the flag pin. This so ridiculous what has happened to America that we have to "mark" ourselves to identify ourselves as supporters (patriots) of America. Most people couldn't tell you what the word even mean. Most of those who feel you should "mark" yourselves with a pin on your lapel probably haven't done anything of service. I don't mean only serving in the military. I am a Christian, but I don't wear a cross around my neck to ensure people know that. Why because it is the action not the symbol. I am a veteran (23 years), yet I don't put a bumper stickers all over my face and car to ensure people know that I am. Americans have lost the real meaning of what it is to be an American and the word "patriot" has lost its true meaning. Why are we concerned with what a few dead guys would think - when they didn't have the courage to include women and Blacks in the original plan. We should get better as Americans, let's not beat ourselves up about what is going on - Find out the facts and go out and vote!

    Barack for President!

    July 4, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  18. Robert in Seattle

    Read the whole Declaration of Independence. Take a close look at the indictments. How many of the are applicable to our own government today?

    We went to war over these things once. I don't think our forefathers would be proud of our country the way it is now.

    July 4, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  19. Glen in Los Angeles

    The founding fathers would more than likely be pleasantly dismayed at how stable and resiliant, how vibrant and diverse the United States is today. They would marvel at our position as the world's only superpower, they would be astounded at the strength of our economy, they would be relieved that the question of slavery had been resolved in a way they had not been able to resolve it. If the people who think the authors and signers of the United States of America's first documents would be disappointed at the America of today, I think they should read a little more about them. Alexander Hamilton would be somewhat alarmed at the national debt. And John Adams would probably be a little irked. But wasn't being irked his default frame of mind?
    The President of the United States is a symbol of America as much as the flag or the capitol dome. The man in the office or those who aspire to that office should accessorize accordingly. I think the true test of the flag pin being a part of Presidential garb is not in the contest to see which of the candidates is more patriotic, but whether or not the sitting President chooses to wear one.

    July 4, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  20. Joe - Wilmington, DE

    Given the modern realities of gun violence in many of our cities, out of control litigation yearly pulling billions of dollars out of the economy, high dollar influence peddling at the local, state and federal levels, too many people believing that their "rights" trump individual responsibility...

    I'd say disappointed.

    July 4, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  21. Marge Hibbing Mn

    And very very trully whose fault is it because we are what we are today. Our own darn fault that's what.

    First we choose the legislatures and president and we have made terrible choices...terrible...now we have to choose candidates for a president and again we made a terrible choice. Mc Cain is a bad choice for the Republicans but obama is the worst one we have ever picked.

    He might be a charming fellow, but that doesn't get us a good president. Already he has "changed" his mind on key issues. He "changes" his mind every time there is a key issue. And people should have known he was like that when he skipped every single conterversial issue in the State senate and the US senate. Voting present so he wouldn't have to make a choice in the State and not even bothering to vote in the US senate. Giving us the worst record on non-voting, except for Tim Johnson who had brain surgery, the senate has ever seen. But because he is "charming" and a good speech giver, by the way written by some one else, people flocked to this new type of cult leader.

    July 4, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  22. Dennis

    I think in particular Thomas Jefferson would be astounded and furious that his private letter's phrase "a wall of separation" between church and state has been used to squelch religious expression in this country like it has.

    I quote him:
    “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people
    that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.”
    Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 18, 1781

    The removal of the Bible from our schools would be seen as tragic.
    Jefferson is quoted as saying, “The Bible is the cornerstone of liberty,” and “…students’ perusal of the sacred volume will make us better citizens.”


    July 4, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  23. Kris from AZ

    Regardless of our great founding fathers on what they think of America today. I am extremely proud to be an AMERICAN. A place to where there are differences in point of views and freedoms like no other nation. Difference of oppinions no matter if you are republican or democrat of different back grounds. Most of us can eat at the same dinner table and enjoy each others company. In the end we are one no matter what party we belong to. Be proud my fellow Americans. It is our land. It is the best place to be in the world. GOD BLESS AMERICA! HAPPY 4TH ALL!

    July 4, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  24. A nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Are you crazy? Are you insane? Who writes the trash that I've seen so recently on this blog site? Americans are proud of our country and our ancesters would be proud of our country as well. They wouldn't be disappointed, rather they would be amazed.

    We are the greatest nation on earth and I get upset that the liberals are not satisfied. They ask not what they can do for their country rather how they best can tear it down.

    We set the slaves free. We set Europe and the world free in the 1940's. We set Korea free in the the 50's. We sent people to the moon in the 60's. We were recognized as the greatest power on earth in the 70's. We defeated the USSR in the 80's. In the nineties we set Panama and Kuwait free.
    In the 2000's we set Afghanistan and Iraq free and put a vessel on the Planet Mars.

    I don't think our founding fathers would be disappointed in America, I think they would be overcome with joy and elation at the good America has done down through the ages.

    This is our country, this is our time, so let's celebrate and enjoy the fruits of our founding fathers who encouraged slavery.

    One thought here is the 49 year old white woman is a 49 nine year old woman on this blog site is white trash. And Obama is a snaky flip flooper.

    July 4, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  25. Robert in Seattle

    Thank France, without them, we wouldn't be an independent country. We should all be wearing French flag pins today as well as US flags!

    July 4, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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