on 1 November 2010
According to Jill LePore's book the American founding fathers were not prophets and they didn't want to be worshipped. They struggled to make an imperfect but working Constitution that contained many compromises none of them were happy about, including that found in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 which counted slaves as three-fifths of a person. In Federalist 14, Madison was disdainful of people who let a blind veneration for the past overrule their own good sense, knowledge and experience.
The Tea Party has misunderstood much of early American history by conflating the past and the present, but that's not surprising because political movements have been appropriating and misrepresenting the American Revolution since not much after its last shots was fired. Both civil rights leaders and southern segregationists considered themselves the true sons of liberty. This book is thick with examples of competing ideologies claiming the mantle of America's beginnings for themselves, especially during the preparations for the Bicentennial in the 1970s when a divided country couldn't agree on what its lessons were.
THE WHITES OF THERE EYES weaves back and forth between the country's early history and the events of the present day, leading up to the November 2010 midterm elections. Rather than focusing on candidates, LePore spends time with the Tea Party members themselves, especially from the Boston area which is where much of the early American history she covers takes place. The historical sections are among the most interesting and moving parts of the book, especially the running back story on Benjamin Franklin and his sister Jane, which LePore uses in part to illustrate how easily the history can be misinterpreted.