Welcome to Inventing America: Conversations with the Founders!
 

At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia an elderly woman approached Benjamin Franklin as he was leaving the Pennsylvania State House. "Tell me, Dr. Franklin," she said, "do we have a republic or a monarchy?" Dr. Franklin replied: "A republic, madam, if you can keep it."

If our Founding Fathers could come back, what would they think about our country today? Would they turn over in their graves, or would they be astounded that our republic is still alive? George Washington, who presided at the 1787 convention, predicted it wouldn't last 20 years, so take a guess.

In the three-part program on this website we take you behind the scenes of the creation of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. You will see how these are not just old dusty parchments stored away in a museum, but how they define us as Americans and serve as a beacon of freedom to the world.

Filmed before a live audience at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, the program features our Founders portrayed by noted historical actors in a TV talk show format. While imagined and presented as a retrospective, the conversations are based on fact, using the Founders' actual words. Each episode runs 56 minutes and may be viewed at home or in the classroom. Resource materials for middle school and high school educators are included and may used at the college level as well.


Enjoy the program!

MIlton Nieuwsma
Writer/Creator

Inventing America: Making a Nationbrings our Founding Fathers back to life in a TV talk show filmed before a live audience. This program features three delegates to the Second Continental Congress—Thomas Jefferson (Bill Barker), Benjamin Franklin (John Hamant) and John Adams (Sam Goodyear)—discussing the lead-up to the Declaration of Independence. A fourth delegate, John Dickinson (Rodney TeSlaa), who refused to sign the document, reveals the conflict behind this historic event.


Inventing America: Making a Government brings our Founding Fathers back to life in a TV talk show filmed before a live audience. This program tells the story behind the Constitutional Convention of 1787 – four momentous months that changed the world. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Gouverneur Morris and George Washington discuss the conflicts and compromises that led to creating the world’s most enduring republic. While imagined and presented as a retrospective, the conversation is based on fact, using the Founders’ actual words.


Inventing America: Liberty for Allbrings our Founding Fathers back to life in a TV talk show before a live audience. In Episode 3, James Madison (John Douglas Hall), Thomas Jefferson (Bill Barker), Alexander Hamilton (Hal Bidlack) and Patrick Henry (Richard Schumann) reveal the conflicts and infighting behind the new U.S. Constitution and how that led to the Bill of Rights. The program features a Q&A with college students in which the Founders apply the Bill of Rights to our own time. It concludes with Henry's famous "Give me liberty, or give me death" speech that inspired the idea of America in the first place.