Imagining what the Founding Fathers would think about our nation today always constitutes an interesting exercise. America’s strength and enduring democracy probably would have delighted many of them. On the other hand, its political parties and many foreign alliances might have raised an eyebrow or two.
In fact, if one reads George Washington’s farewell address, its quite amazing how much of his advice was not followed. “Avoid…overgrown military establishments” (nope); “steer clear of permanent alliances” (nope); “preserving the Union” (the Civil War ruined that one); “avoiding…the accumulation of debt” (funny, that); “party dissension…is itself a frightful despotism” (stopped following that advice even before his death).
Because this is a politics blog, however, the question here is what political party Washington would have belonged to.
On the surface, things look muddled. Washington’s personal beliefs don’t fit one particular mold. His commitment to isolationism, for example, wouldn’t have made either the Democrats or the Republicans look appealing. He supported democracy and liberty – but doing that isn’t exactly a Democratic or Republican-only thing.
We know that Washington held Federalist sympathies; thus his support of Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton strikes one as a modern-day big-business supporter; perhaps Washington might therefore have leaned Republican.
The truth, however, is actually fairly obvious. Demographics provide the answer. If we look not at policy but at identity, we can tell what party George Washington would have belonged to.
Think about it for a moment. George Washington was a rich married rural Southern slave-owning Protestant straight white male who in all probability would not have voted for a black man. Sounds like a Republican to me.