Live by Night
The key question behind Live by Night isn’t so much “Why did they bother?” as “What went wrong?”
If "1776" is to be believed, the United States was founded by a bunch of nebbishes, and the Declaration of Independence was written only after Thomas Jefferson rid himself of writer's block by making love to his wife.
When I was a kid I read a series of books called the "Childhood of Famous Americans." They all had one slight structural problem: Everything that made their subjects interesting happened after their childhoods were over. So the series gave us lot of motivation.
The same series seems to have inspired "1776." Its singular historical insight is that all of those famous Americans never grew up. They just put on wigs and grew sideburns and continued to act in the same childish ways.
This is an insult to the real men who were Adams, Jefferson, Franklin and the rest -- but then we've emasculated our founding fathers in story and song for so long that they're practically a set of caricatures. By the time "1776" came along, the stage was set for a dumb, simplistic romp through Independence Hall. I guess we don't want to fully recognize the stature of those early leaders; might make the present variety look a little transparent.