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Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Our Founders’ Wisdom
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Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Our Founders’ Wisdom

Our Democracy is being tested. Will we be strong enough to stand up to protect it? Our Founders advised us: At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 a lady asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin responded, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

George Washington, in his 1796 farewell address, warned us about the dangers of animosity between political parties, despotism and foreign influence. He said: “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty… It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration.

It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, [and] foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions.”

In 1838 Abraham Lincoln counseled us that America will never be destroyed from the outside but if we lose our freedoms it will be because we destroyed ourselves. He said, "If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time or die by suicide."

Barbara Glakas

Herndon