The Founders are a major citizen faction and political party in the city of Columbia. Their name relates to the fact that they see themselves as the true founders of the city, and they attempt to model their ideals after the founding fathers of the United States. The party promotes ultra-nationalism, religious faith in the divinity of Father Zachary Hale Comstock, jingoism, militarism and extreme xenophobia, and is at war with the anarcho-communist resistance group known as the Vox Populi. Central to their ideology is the belief that Elizabeth will lead them to an apocalyptic cleansing of the world below in order to remake it into Columbia's image, and that a false shepherd will attempt to lead her astray. The Columbia police force and military are both aligned with the Founders.
General Information Edit
When Zachary Hale Comstock originally founded the city of Columbia, he already had considerable influence over the American public, and was seen as a prophetic figure. A large part of Columbia's citizens even viewed him as literally divine. Equally convinced of his own importance, Comstock allowed this cult of personality to grow and made every effort to develop it further. Proclaiming Father Comstock and themselves to be the true ideological successors to the founding fathers of the United States, his followers named themselves the Founders.
In addition to their fervent devotion to Father Comstock, the Founders also embraced his more extreme beliefs, notably aggressive white supremacism and classism. White, middle- to upper-class Christian citizens had access to all of the city's privileges, whereas the rest were segregated to not only live in much poorer conditions, but also to barely appear in the same places as the Founders except in conditions of enforced servitude. Various forms of propaganda pandered to these stereotypes, rewriting history from the Founders' viewpoint and attempting to justify Comstock's ideology, including his decision to have Columbia secede from the United States after brutally crushing the Boxer Rebellion. Children were not only indoctrinated in the same way, but were also encouraged to enter the city's military force at a young age.
Despite the Founders' extreme bigotry, they nonetheless embraced a very egalitarian treatment of women, who were allowed to join the city's militia, army and police force. Similarly, they were equally progressive in the adoption of advanced technology, namely the city's quantum-based levitation system and the body-warping Vigors. Though Rosalind Lutece, a brilliant female scientist, was not exempt from a few sexist jokes, she was still highly respected as the most eminent intelligence in all of Columbia. Similarly, Elizabeth was expected to lead Columbia and begin the invasion of the world below following the passing of Father Comstock.
The Founder's ideology heavily incorporates symbolism, most of it associated with the United States' founding fathers. The city's three main symbols are as follows:
- The Sword, championed by George Washington. It exemplifies strength, courage and military prowess. Following the death of Lady Comstock, the Sword also grew to symbolize vengeance against Columbia's enemies.
- The Key, championed by Benjamin Franklin. It represents justice, righteousness and moral guidance.
- The Scroll, championed by Thomas Jefferson. It symbolizes wisdom, and is occasionally used among the population to signify intelligence.
Other factions and individuals within the Founders also developed symbols of their own: for example, the Fraternal Order of the Raven, tasked with avenging Lady Comstock, worship the raven (so that they may watch over the city) and the coffin (for their self-perceived failure to protect Lady Comstock) alongside the Sword. Jeremiah Fink splits society into lions (the elite), cattle (workers) and hyenas (dissidents), going so far as decorating his Beast contingent's armor with golden lion heads.
In addition to these symbols, the Founders also worship certain individuals, most notably Father Comstock, whom they see as a divine prophet. Lady Comstock is seen as a saint, especially following her death, Elizabeth is worshiped as the Lamb of Columbia, Comstock's successor, and Songbird, her jailor, is viewed as a guardian of the city. Even Monument Island, where Elizabeth is initially held captive, is held to be almost sacred, causing great distress among the population when it is partially destroyed. Conversely, figures opposed to Comstock are demonized: Daisy Fitzroy and the Vox Populi are associated with the Devil, whereas Booker is hunted down for being the False Shepherd, a figure who Comstock prophesized would arrive to corrupt Elizabeth.
The Fall of the Founders Edit
Fiercely convinced of their righteousness, the Founders did not hesitate to stamp out any form of ideological dissidence. Romantic or sexual relations between white and black people was an offense punishable by death (which, once a year, was turned into a public stoning), and supporters of worker's rights were hunted down and either ostracized or arrested. Thus, when the Vox Populi movement began to form, the Founders immediately declared war against the new faction, forcing its members to resort to violence. Initially viewed as a nuisance, the purported murder of Lady Comstock by Daisy Fitzroy and her rise to leadership of the Vox spurred the entire Founders population into fighting against them. The Fraternal Order of the Raven, an even more extreme and racist branch of the Founders, tasked themselves with the assassination of Vox Populi members, and above all Daisy Fitzroy.
Initially, the Founders had the upper hand. Thanks to their privileged status and support from Fink Manufacturing, they possessed total economic and technological supremacy over the rebels. The Vox Populi itself had limited access to weapons and was forced into the underground, limiting itself to a few attacks against the populace. With the intervention of Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth, who opened a Tear into a reality in which the Vox gained access to Chen Lin's weapons, the Vox crippled the factory district and spread to the rest of the city, murdering any Founders they came across. Surviving citizens were forced to flee the city, and those who stayed to fight were forced back to Comstock House. Eventually, the Vox took over Columbia, burning it down in almost its entirety.
List of Key Founders Edit
The scalps of key Founders members, save for Comstock's, can be found nailed to a board in the Port Prosperity Station's foyer. The bloodied board reads "Tell us Prophet. Do you see us coming?".
- Zachary Hale Comstock, leader of the Founders.
- Jeremiah Fink, owner of Columbia's businesses and weapons supplier.
- Flambeau, Jeremiah Fink's associate.
- Saltonstall, a major politician.
- Marlowe, inventor of the Murder of Crows Vigor.
- H. Clark
Flambeau's body is directly underneath the sign, along with two other corpses.
- ↑ "Interview: Ken Levine aims high with BioShock Infinite" article on GamesCatalyst.com