America’s Founders left future generations a legacy of self-reliance. Thanks to their initiative, determination, and grit the United States became the greatest nation in the world. But things are changing, and not for the better. Barack Obama’s legacy as president can be summarized in one word: entitlement. One of his main contributions as chief executive has been to promote an entitlement mentality that keeps people shackled to the government. Obama’s thinking is simple. Increasing the number of government-dependent citizens in turn increases the number of loyal Democratic voters.

One of the president’s strategies for promoting an entitlement mentality has been to grow the welfare rolls. As a result, welfare spending has increased by 32 percent during the Obama administration. This means that under Obama welfare surpassed the social security and military budgets as the single largest block of government spending. But what of America’s Founders? Does the Obama entitlement mentality comport with the vision of America’s Founders? Did they envision a nation of entitled takers or a nation of self-reliant doers? The answer to this question resides in the historical record and it is clear: the Founders would have been appalled at the entitlement mentality that now permeates the attitudes of so many Americans.

The Founders of our country had to work so hard and sacrifice so much for their freedom that the concepts of individual initiative, personal responsibility, and self-reliance were assumed in their days. These concepts were part of their DNA. Our Founders had no concept of the entitlement mentality that has spread like an epidemic in American society. When the Constitution was developed, it was written by men for whom individual initiative, personal responsibility, and self-reliance were a given. The Founders would have rejected Barack Obama’s attitude of entitlement and the government’s ill-fated War on Poverty without a second thought.

Read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, or any of the correspondence of the individual Founders and you will observe conclusively that the Founders were self-reliant men who disdained government involvement in their lives. As a result, they sought to establish a government structure that would encourage self-reliance and preclude government dependence. They wanted a government that would stay out of the way of individual initiative. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution not to provide government entitlements, but to protect citizens from government tyranny; to prevent government interference in the lives of American citizens who were trying to simultaneously build a new country and better lives for themselves and their families.

As president, Barack Obama has been the Pied Piper of entitlement. Under Obama, more people have been added to the food-stamp rolls than under any previous president. By way of comparison, consider that during the entire eight years of the George W. Bush administration 14.7 million people were added to the food-stamp rolls. President Obama surpassed that number in the first year of his second term (15.8 million). During Obama’s second term, the numbers have continued to increase at a steady rate. The legacy of self-reliance left for generations of Americans by the Founders morphed over time into a legacy of entitlement. We have Barack Obama and like-minded liberals to thank for this unfortunate fact.