December 3, 2009, - 2:40 pm
“Spirit of ’76” isn’t for dummies, but they’re the ones who most need to see it. And Obama voters. And people affected by big government interference. And anyone who’s ever said, “there ought to be a federal law.” And pretty much all Americans. Watching this movie made me realize how I’ve missed out on important chunks of American history, and I learned a lot from it.
It’s a new movie, which gives a fascinating, thoughtful look into the crafting of America’s Constitution at the Federal Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia. The DVD is produced by Sirius Patriot Channel 144 host Mike Church (on whose show I do movie reviews every Friday) and his Founding Fathers production company. The movie, which premieres tonight, is also directed and narrated by Church, and he also takes part in the acting with his many great impressions and accents. Also making an appearance in the movie is liberal actor Jay Thomas (also a Sirius host), who does a great job as the voice of Benjamin Franklin.
An animated, historically accurate look at the fight between America’s Founding Fathers who favored federalism and those who favored nationalism, the movie makes you proud to be an American. The patriotism and genius of our founding fathers–especially those who favored a weak federal government and stronger states’ rights–shines throughout this movie. And so does the genius and brilliance of Mike Church and his understanding of American history, as he relates it to his two cute daughters, Madison and Reagan Church, in the narration of the movie.
Church narrates the ongoing debate at the Federal Convention between advocates of a monarchy-style, powerful national government (like James Madison) and those who fought for the individualism and state sovereignty that ultimately prevailed in the Constitution (like George Mason). But he also draws upon sources that would be obscure to the average American, like James Madison’s notes and an interpretation of the Constitution, later written by John Taylor. No, not John Taylor of Duran Duran, but John Taylor of Caroline, Virginia. Who was he? You’ll have to watch the movie and find out. Church mocks the typical liberal valley girl poli sci major know-it-all who doesn’t know of Taylor, either. Church does a great job of laying out the battle between those who would have an American Republic and those who would have a national government.
Using the delegates’ own words at the Convention and in notes they wrote of the proceedings, Church enlightens us more on the founding fathers who wanted a monarchy, after we’d just gotten finished fighting one. I learned about that in school, but I didn’t know that, for instance, Alexander Hamilton literally wrote that he supported a national “dictator” who would be able to use executive privileges for “bribing the legislature.”
And while the states righters won out, as Church points out, today, the nationalists have won. As we know, Congress and the federal government interfere in all areas of our lives, from the air that we breathe (OSHA) and food that we eat (USDA) to that tag on the pillow we sleep on at night.
Still, the founders–the delegates from several states to the Federal Convention spoke eloquently in their valiant fight against that. My favorite quote is from George Mason, who said that while he wasn’t against the men of that time who were for a national government,
I doubt we will be succeeded by men of such character.
Ain’t that the truth. Look at Washington, DC today and those who regulate our lives to death, leaving little rights to the individual states and, ultimately, the individual American.
Another spot on prediction is Benjamin Franklin’s brilliant speech declaring that in a strong national government and legislature.
The bold and violent will thrust themselves into our government.
And sadly that’s what’s happened–people who run for office and create ever-growing fiefdoms and bureaucracies, seeking to perpetuate their hold on office and power.
This movie is long (there’s a lot to talk about), so be prepared. It follows the Constitution through every stage. But it’s an important history lesson that’s great for older teens and college students (as well as adults). It would make a great inspiration for a history report or term paper. . . not to mention establishing your child’s appreciation for the wisdom of the founding fathers and how their victory against a powerful central government has been negated over time. (And I learned that James Madison was only 5’4″, perhaps a Napoleonic reason for his grab for a powerful national government.)
Through this movie and other endeavors, Mike Church has demonstrated his place as an important contemporary American thinker and patriot.
Tags: Benjamin Franklin, Caroline, Constitution, Federal Convention, Federal Convention of 1787, Founding Fathers, Founding Fathers productions, George Mason, James Madison, Jay Thomas, John Taylor, Mike Church, movie, movie review, Spirit of '76, U.S. Constitution, Virginia