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. Steve

    Scott July 4th, 2008 10:07 am ET

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

    Wow. I'm very impressed that you're able to type while wearing your white hood and sheet.

    July 4, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |

    This nation is a mess and we have Bush and the republicans to thank for it. And people are actually considering voting for John McCain? Incredible!!!

    July 4, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  3. Bobby

    Well happy 4th of July! I hope everbody celebrate this holiday with restraints and joy! This country does have alot of skeletons and evil behaviors but what country does'nt. I am a BLACK MAN who is proud to be an American. I did serve in the Armed Forces and college educated. Those scenarios would'nt exist 5 decades ago. I did get out of the military cause I did not want to go to war unjust. I do feel sorry for the men and women fighting this war but they are doing a great job. I hope that Americans realize that this country needs alot of changes and must not resist these changes!

    Happy 4th of July

    July 4, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. Abraham " Hussien" Lincoln

    They would not be proud of the "US versus THEM" tone within our own country by our own citizens.

    They would not be proud of the attempt by some to co-opt fundamental principles of the country by one political party or the other. Nor would they be proud of the extreme energy and efforts that go into "spinning" the story a certain way.

    July 4, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. Steve Bohleber

    On this July 4 I just read the Declaration of Independence for the first time in about 10 years. It endures as a wonderful, vibrant and relevant document, written in large part by a man of uncommon intellect and insight into the basic human desire to be free and independent. With all of our problems, we remain a nation of laws, committed to our basic ideals of tolerance and humanity contained in Mr Jefferson's magnificent words. Like other monumental and inspirational human declarations (The Bible, The Koran etc.) it has been either ignored and misinterpreted over the years by some, which has called us to question ourselves as a nation in less than flattering terms from time to time. Overall it endures and is a beacon of hope and will continue to serve us well.

    July 4, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  6. Jim

    Our founding fathers would be thrilled with their 'experiment'...that after 200+ years every PERSON is seen as 'created equal'; every PERSON has the opportunity that no other government can insure; that the right of redress has not been abridged; that we can post our sometimes caustic comments without fear of 'government reprisal'...Those 70% couldn't be more wrong: our founding fathers and mothers would be back-slapping themselves silly that we still don't answer to a King or someone else's interpretation of God...

    July 4, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. There is No BETTER Place THAN AMERICA!!!

    Scott ............ If Obama were to win the WH, will we keep our national anthem or will he change it to the Black Anthem?...........What a DUMB QUESTION WITH A RACIAL OVERTONE ........Most black American don't know the WORDS to the BLACK Anthem.......STOP the Madness!
    You are an IDIOT!!!

    July 4, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  8. Bruce

    The founding fathers never could have imagined a US governmnent that is practically a welfare state and that has usurped so many individual rights and seeks to protect us from ourselves at every turn.

    We are on the path to becoming a footnote in world history because judges and politicians play fast and loose with the constitution. I am proud of America past, but scared to death of America future.

    God help us all of Obama is elected president....not because he is black, but because he is a liberal neophyte with no record of accomplishment and it's sad that the electorate buys all the empty rhetoric.

    July 4, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  9. Dave K

    Oh and to the ignorant one who claim that the Founders were advocates of slavery: Go read a history book.

    For example, George Washington wrote endlessly in his journal about the horrible nature of slavery and inequalities. In the end, he was loved by his former slaves and they were even "friends." There were many more Founders who felt similarly, but had to confront the problems of their day in order of importance, and the priority was establishing independence, and a subsequent union that could stand on its own two feet. That's not to say slavery was not an issue, but the priorities were still deemed different.

    And in regard to my former comment: I'm not insinuating that the Founders and Framers are the same people, simply that the Framers put to words better their ideas (which were often similar) than the Founders.

    July 4, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. Democrat

    Bush has turned the US into a police state. Is not concerned to much about human rights. And then dares lecture other countrys. The very idea.

    July 4, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  11. John "Hussien" Adams

    The founding fathers would not approve of potential Congressmen, Senators & Presidents spending more time running for the office than handling the people's business while in office.

    July 4, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. Enough Already!

    230+ years ago, people had morals. Today we stand by and watch as our kids beat up on elderly people. Or we stand by and watch a helpless man who has just bee hit by a car, and do nothing. Our children record themselves on video beating the senses out of each other to post on the internet. Our corporations take their employees to the cleaners. Our president strikes other countries "pre-emptively" after stealing the elections. I'm certain the Founding Fathers could stand back and say, "America the ONCE Proud, you have slipped into moral decay."

    July 4, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. anonymous

    The founding fathers would see that we've gone some steps forward, and some steps backwards. Yes we've abolished slavery and guaranteed minorities a right to vote but yet our current government is obsessed with snooping on individual citizens. The snooping is something I am sure our founding fathers would have considered reprehensible.

    July 4, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  14. mike

    If the Founding Fathers were alive today , they would be sitting in Sam Adam's tavern saying "I thought we fixed this. The government violates the rights of citizens at will, they constantly engage in foriegn wars. Goerge, you personally warned against that, didn't you?
    And frankly, the Federal government for years has usurped the rights of the States in express violation of our Constitution."
    I do believe we will have to do the whole thing over again.

    July 4, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. Mauri

    We are senior, senior citizens. We remember World War II like it was yesterday, but as civilians, this is what we remember most: The American flag was honored to the point that if you were in a movie, and the flag was unfurled or flown on the screen, the audience would either stand and applaud enthusiastically, or at the least, applaud. Gasoline, leather-soled shoes, sugar, coffee, and other staples were rationed – but rare complaints were the order of the day. There was never a worry as to how the national anthem was sung or played. We honored our soldiers and veterans (still do). Five years later, one of us went to serve in the Korean War. After that, things began to go downhill. The brightest light during those years was the one that shone on the Civil Rights movement. Every Fourth of July is a date of renewal of vows and realization that we still live in the greatest country in the world.

    July 4, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. tom, boston

    that would be the understatement of the history.

    the founding fathers were "terrorrists" by the current standards, LOL.

    July 4, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. John Applewood (Northern California)

    No "Dems Be Losers", what I loathe are people like you calling calling democrats "loonies" and stating unfactual statements. No one holds McCain's service against him. In fact, that is the one thing democrats actually admire about him. So go check your facts!

    July 4, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. JonRoss

    Obama and the Democrat party doesn't believe in our Constitution unless it when suits their purposes. This will come back to bite them in a ferocious way very soon. You can't throw out part of the constitution without others deciding that they can do that also. Chaos is approaching. I predict it will play out on the streets of Washington, D.C.

    July 4, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. tom, boston

    by the current standard of morality and patriotism,

    the more people you rob and kill, the bigger hero you are, LOL.

    July 4, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  20. katiec

    Hey everyone,
    I partially blamed the news media for the state of affairs of
    our country and guess what, I did not get posted.

    July 4, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  21. Gary

    Did we even have flag pins in 1860 or 1861? I don't htink so and even if we did, I guess they didn't figure out how to make them smaller thats why they ran around with the flags all day. In any case, shouldn't a giant flag as your backdrop be enough???

    July 4, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. Ulysess "Hussien" Grant

    At what point does the dissatisfaction of the American population, and their sense that certain members are being exploited to benefit others, become SO GREAT that we do damage to our country? ... that we can no longer stand to look our collective selves in the mirror and say this is OK? ... that this is sustainable?

    Those that truly ponder that equation and seek to solve that imbalace show true patriotism.

    Roman Empire gone
    British Empire gone
    Greek Empire gone
    Mongolian Empire gone
    Ottoman Empire gone

    Few, if any, of these ceased to exist because it had a weak military.

    It is not the enemy without that wil kill us ... it is the enemy within.

    July 4, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  23. Doug

    July 4th, 2008 10:10 am ET


    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…"

    Try Canada.

    July 4, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. Michael

    I think the founders would be very dissapointed in how the country has been for the past eight years. When the checks and balances they set up were basically ignored by the faux-king Bush. I think they would be glad to see a person of color running for the oval office. I think they really would be dissapointed in the American people, who have sat idly by, while this president ran wild with the country, and our rights. They would ask us, where are our Boston tea party members, where is our revoultion. A legitimate democracy does not need to show itself on bumpers or in flag pins, but in the essence of our actions.

    July 4, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  25. sam - chautauqua, new york

    How can any patriotic American be proud to wear an american flag, that was made in COMMUNIST CHINA ! Will you people wake up.

    July 4, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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