34% of Americans Believe Founding Fathers Would Consider U.S. a Success

Created: 18 July, 2014
Updated: 15 October, 2022
3 min read

“With Liberty and Justice for All” -- the phrase should be familiar. The idea is a recurring theme in our pledge, our constitution, and our judicial system. But do Americans truly feel they live in a nation that provides liberty and justice for all? A yearly poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports examines how Americans view their country.

When asked if they agree with the closing line of the Pledge of Allegiance, 46 percent answered yes. However, when asked if they truly believe America is a nation with “liberty and justice for all,” 45 percent answered no -- the lowest number since 2008.

Some argue that the Pledge of Allegiance is not what America is, but what America should strive to be. The words are challenges that we as a nation still struggle with 238 years after we declared our independence from England. From ending segregation to allowing same-sex marriages, America is still learning what “liberty and justice for all” really means.

Nonetheless, 86 percent of U.S. adults still claim they are proud to be Americans.

When asked, 34 percent of those polled agree that if the Founding Fathers came back today, they would consider the U.S. a success. In contrast, 49 percent believe they would consider the nation a failure.

When asked who they think was the greatest Founding Father, 40 percent answered George Washington, while 23 percent said Thomas Jefferson deserved the title. Benjamin Franklin ranked third with 14 percent, and only 6 percent favored John Adams. Since Rasmussen began surveying the question in 2006, Washington has received a plurality of responses every year -- with the exception of 2012.

Given his nature, 49 percent say they would mirror Washington's views.

Washington was the first and only independent president of the U.S. Not only did Washington not align himself with any political party, he warned of the dangers of such factions.

In his farewell address, Washington wrote:

“They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community…However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

The partisan games conducted in today’s political arena would likely outrage Washington, as incongruous views have stimulated separation rather than unity.

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Even so, of today’s Republicans, 59 percent consider America to be a nation with “liberty and justice for all.” However, only 38 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of independents agree.

Nevertheless, 51 percent of adults who believe the nation is not aligned with the principles of “liberty and justice for all” would still choose to live in the U.S. over any other place.

Do you see today’s America as a success? Does the nation emulate the closing line of the Pledge of Allegiance? Is the U.S. a nation with liberty and justice for all?