A Note to the Reader
The values of the Founders weren’t ours, and we will fault some of them for their views on slavery. But it would be wrong to trash them, for three reasons. First, while the delegates accepted a country divided by slavery, that might be defended if the alternative was no country at all. The Revolution itself was fought by patriots from both the north and the slave-holding south. Second, in the fullness of time the ideals of the founders bore fruit in the Seneca Falls Declaration on the rights of women, and in civil rights movement. Third, the screenplay emphasizes the need to understand the delegates in their own terms, and the unfairness of imagining that we can do a brain transplant on the delegates and expect them to see things as moderns do.
To understand what had happened, it is important to regard the period as the birth of the modern, in which the antique republican virtues of a George Washington gave way to a very different commercial republic. The aristocratic Founders were creating a republic which, for better or worse, would have little place for people such they.