Independence Day and the Founding Fathers

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Expert:
Dr. Richard Beeman
Professor of History
University of Pennsylvania

Credentials and topics:
    Dr. Beeman has been awarded the 2010 George Washington Book Prize for his “Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution” overturns longstanding mythical perceptions of our Founding Fathers as "demi-gods." 
    He is available for interviews on how our Founding Fathers approached the drafting of the Constitution and how they might view the document today. Topics could include:
    • Interpreting the Constitution -- How would the Founding Fathers react to the
debate over whether their work should be interpreted according to their "original intent," the "plain meaning" of their words or as a "living constitution?"
    • Presidential power -- While the text of the Constitution gives few clues on
the subject, our Founding Fathers were terrified of an overly powerful
executive.
    • God in government -- The fact that every president since has added "so help me God" to the constitutionally prescribed presidential oath suggests that they may have been more eager to put god into government than were the men who wrote the Constitution.   It's difficult to find any traces of the deity in the document. 
    • The Bill of Rights -- The Bill of Rights is seen today as the heart and soul
of the Constitution, but the Founding Fathers thought a bill of rights was unnecessary and omitted it from the original document in 1787.