Ben Carson’s absurd notion that the Founding Fathers had ‘no elected office experience’
— Dr. Ben Carson, in a Facebook post, Nov. 4, 2015
Carson, a political novice running for the GOP presidential nomination, made this observation in a late-night Facebook post defending his lack of political experience. As he put it:
“You are absolutely right — I have no political experience. The current Members of Congress have a combined 8,700 years of political experience. Are we sure political experience is what we need. Every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience. What they had was a deep belief that freedom is a gift from God. They had a determination to rise up against a tyrannical King.”Of course, the Declaration of Independence was crafted by a committee charged by the Continental Congress, which was made up of delegates who had been elected by the Colonial assemblies. But we’ll assume that Carson knew that, and instead meant that prior to being elected to Congress, the delegates had had no elected office experience. Is that correct?
The FactsLet’s start with Thomas Jefferson, the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence. Years earlier, he had been a student at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg. As luck would have it, the House of Burgesses met there, and so Jefferson as a student was able to witness legislative debates.