For over 200 years, Americans by birth and Americans by choice have had the opportunity to succeed through hard work, perseverance, and an entrepreneurial spirit; that isn’t an accident. The Founding Fathers were almost all successful businessmen and built a system that made the American Dream possible. Many of them started with little more than the shirts on their backs, but they were consummate entrepreneurs. They understood that one’s “class” shouldn’t be determined by birth alone. Instead, they built a system where a person could work their way up from the bottom and become successful in business and, perhaps more importantly, change the country’s direction.
Why did the Founding Fathers leave the comfort of their homes and choose to serve their fledgling country at significant personal risk?
Part of the answer comes from the greatest thinkers in Western history. Plato wrote, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” His sentiment was something that our Founding Fathers took to heart, and it is one of the reasons many of them were willing to risk everything for an idea. They built a system of government nationally and at the state level, whose cornerstone was the direct participation of the people who benefited most from the liberties they were afforded.
When you look at Washington, DC, or even into your state capitol today, ask yourself how many of those people know what it’s like to risk everything for an idea? How many of them have mortgaged their own homes to launch a business? How many of them know what it’s like to become successful thanks to hard work and perseverance? In other words, how many of them are entrepreneurs? Today the answer is surprisingly few.
The government today is populated not by people who are making a sacrifice to be there. Instead, the vast majority are there for a career or to make a name for themselves. As a result, the government continues to erect new and barriers to success daily. The only way to reverse this direction is for businessmen and women to reclaim their place in halls of government and begin to dismantle the leviathan that has been erected.
In the following video for the Entrepreneurship Protection Program (EPP), John Kennedy talks about his journey from a modest begging to a successful businessman and public service’s importance in his life. Joining John is his son Mike who discusses the lessons he learned from his father about entrepreneurship, capitalism, and public service.