Life and Liberty is a fanlisting for the founding generation in American history. I find these indyosyncratic and earnest men fascinating, and this is a place where the like minded can gather.
Just the Facts: The "founding fathers" is a pretty flexible term, and I use it to refer to the generation or so of revolutionaries, farmers, lawyers and politicians who came together at the end of the 18th century to throw of the yoke of one nation and to create another. I think that there are women who can justly be referred to as "Founding Fathers" and who certainly made an impact on the shape of the nation. There are the Big Six that are generally meant by the term "Founding Fathers": Alexander Hamilton, Benjaman Franklin, George Washington, James Madison, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. But as I said, I think the term is flexible, and could certainly be applied to John Marshall, Thomas Paine or Abigail Adams as well.
The influence of these people can be seen in the nature of American government. It is felt in her constitution and her two-party system, in her monuments and in her psyche. Indeed, some have gone as far as reducing all American political turmoil to the dueling ghosts of Hamilton and Jefferson. Whatever the case, these people were just as interesting in life as they are in the political pantheon today.
The Name: Life and liberty are two of the more frequently epoused univerasal rights of man. The infamous cadance in the Declaration of Independence declares these truths to be self evident, that all men are entitled to life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness. John Locke's Two Treatises of Government, one of the major influences on that document, declares man's rights to be "life, liberty, and property". The two words haunt the rhetoric of the times like the spectre of the French Revolution, and so I thought it an appropriate name.
The Layout: I decided to use a large colorful engraving of Washington's cabinet, otherwise know as the Best Cabinet Ever. Featured in the layout are Jefferson, Knox, Hamilton, and Washington. The text of the layout is from David Ramsay's 1789 History of the American Revolution:
But the great bulk of those who were the active insturments of carrying on the Revolution were self-made, industrious men. THese who by their own exertions had established or laid a foundation of establishing personal independence were most generally trusted and most successfully employed in establishing that of their country. In these times of action, classical education was fould of less service than good natural parts, guided by common sense and sound judgment...
It seemed as if the war not only required but created talents. Men whose minds wer warmed with the love of liberty, and whose abilities were improved with daily excercise and sharpened with a loaudable ambiton to serve their distressed country, spoke, wrote, and acted with an energy far surassing all expectations which could reasonably founded on their previous acquirements.
Previous layouts have featured the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and a gathering at the Constitutional Convention.