Children of Founding Fathers played a big role in forming U.S. government, Constitution

Feb 15, 2021, 6:18 AM
founding fathers children...
Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, by Howard Chandler Christy (Public Domanin)
(Public Domanin)

PROVO, Utah — New BYU research published in the American Journal of Political Science suggests the children of our Founding Fathers played a fairly significant role in forming the government of a new Republic. 

BYU professor of political science Jeremy Pope studied the delegates of the Constitutional Convention and how the gender of their own children influenced their voting. The study found that fathers who had more sons were more likely to vote for a stronger national government than fathers of daughters, who wanted a weaker national government with greater state authority. Other studies confirm that child gender does indeed affect parental behavior even in modern-day law and policy.

While there were many factors that influenced our founders when it came to voting on and implementing policy during the early years of our Republic, family life was especially important. According to records from the Philadelphia convention, many references were made to the children of the Founding Fathers, showing how passionate they were about protecting their future descendants when it came to laying the groundwork for a new government.

“Gender is important wherever you are in history,” according to Pope. “Gender effects change over time, but they play a much bigger role in politics than we think they do.”

Researchers believe the delegates with more sons tended to favor larger national government possibly in order to create positions for their sons to fill.

“If you are a father of daughters in 1787, you worry about family connections that hinge more on marrying your daughter and not about a career,” said Pope. “Whereas if you have sons, you need places for them to go that are honorable and provide good careers.”

Analyzing the data, which included notes of the deliberations and family dynamics, Pope and BYU student Soren Schmidt found that the effects of child gender were just as prominent as the other factors and among the most important influences on the delegates.

“Our research shows that the differences driven by the gender of the delegates’ children were big enough to affect the Convention’s proceedings and therefore the structure of the U.S. Constitution itself,” said Schmidt. “In other words, it mattered deeply that our Founding Fathers were also actual fathers.”

Today’s Top Stories

All News

The Utes are 2021 Pac-12 champions for the first time in program history.  Photo courtesy of Utah A...
Mark Jackson

Utes win first ever Pac-12 championship; get first ever Rose Bowl appearance Jan. 1

(Salt Lake City, UT)  —  Congratulations to 2021 Pac-12 champions Utah Utes after a 38-10 beating of the Oregon Ducks Friday night.  The Utes entered Friday night’s game 0-2 in their first two attempts at a conference title, but hit big in Las Vegas in front of a crowd of 56,511 at Allegiant Stadium.  Utah takes […]
9 hours ago
Omicron variant Photo: Canva...
Becky Bruce

Omicron variant of COVID-19 detected in first Utah patient

Utah health officials confirmed the state's first patient to test positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19 Friday. 
1 day ago
chipotle cilantro soap...
Ramishah Maruf, CNN Business

Chipotle is selling a cilantro soap — and people can’t get enough

Whether you think cilantro is delicious or you think it tastes like soap, Chipotle is hoping to bridge the gap by bringing the world cilantro soap.
1 day ago
rockies winter no snow denver skyline...

Where’s the snow? Rockies winter starts with a whimper

Denver's winter has started with a whimper, and the parched mountains of the Rockies to the west aren't faring much better.
1 day ago
Angels Landing...
Kate Davis

Planning on hiking Angels Landing? You’ll need a permit

Angels Landing hike in Zion National Park now requires a permit. Visitors can apply for permits beginning January 3, 2022.
1 day ago
A well wisher kneels to pray at a memorial on the sign of Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., Wedn...
COREY WILLIAMS and ED WHITE Associated Press

Suspect’s parents charged in Michigan school shooting

A prosecutor has filed involuntary manslaughter charges against the parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school. James and Jennifer Crumbley were charged Friday with four courts each.
1 day ago
Children of Founding Fathers played a big role in forming U.S. government, Constitution