Obscure Founding Fathers Facts
Ah, the 4th of July. Every year since my homeland became an actual country, several things have been fairly consistent in their occurrence on this day. Fireworks get shot off; some tool drinks too much and vomits on someone else’s shirt, the older generation laments the loss of how the country was in previous years and younger Americans (me included.) share different things on Facebook or other parts of the internet. Seriously, that’s pretty much all we do these days.
Now, I’m not good looking. So no photos of Shirtless Evan will make an appearance today. But I am knowledgeable. So, in the spirit of the day and the “Founding Fathers” that so many in America often invoke on this anniversary of the nation’s independence, here are some facts you may not know about that famous group. None of what you’re about to read is made up or inaccurate. At least from what I can tell. If I’m wrong, feel free to let me know promptly.
- Benjamin Franklin wasn’t trusted to write the Declaration of Independence as it was feared he would insert a joke into the document.
For real, according to the editor of the Oxford Edition of the man’s autobiography, the other Founding Fathers chose Jefferson over the more widely respected Franklin due to fears he would insert subtle humor that wouldn’t be noticed until it was too late. The somewhat wise men knew the document would be looked upon by all the nations of the world at that time and wanted to be seen as serious individuals. Franklin and three others would end up assisting Jefferson in writing.
- Gouverneur Morris, the Founding Father referred to by most as the “Penman of the Constitution”, died after forcing a whale bone into his penis in an attempt to clear a blocked urinary tract.
Yeah…..um…..the less said about this the better. I’ll be honest, just by reading it I feel a little bit of pain. I guess that if the man were still alive, he’d be a prominent star on Jackass?
- Patrick Henry, the Founding Father most known for saying “Give me Liberty or give me Death” owned over 60 slaves.
This is an obvious and quite frankly easy criticism, but it’s one that deserves to be uttered regularly. You have to wonder what was going through the man’s mind when he said such a thing and yet continued to keep black people in chains on his estate. Of all the men who signed the document, I have a strong preference for John Adams. When it came to the horrendous nature of this issue, he was thankfully on the right side of it, although he sometimes had to compromise.
- Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair and was almost 2 million in debt when he died.
Though I am not a fan of the man and believe he was not as great a public servant as some of his peers. I have to give him praise for inventing an object that entertained 11 year old me on many a rainy day. If I had to count the times I zipped around in a swivel chair or deliberately made myself dizzy for kicks, I’d probably lose count. Thanks Thom!
- Francis Hopkinson, the Founding Father most likely responsible for designing the first U.S. Flag asked for a quarter cask of wine as payment. He never received it.
That’s it everyone. Have a safe and lovely day. If you should take anything away from this piece, it’s that these men were far more imperfect and strange than history makes them out to be. Too often we lionize those who give birth to a nation and too little do we remember their quirks.