45 Things You Definitely Didn’t Know About The Founding Fathers
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that all farts should smell better, and that all Founding Fathers of this great nation should smoke copious amounts of hemp.
1. Two days before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the delegates of the Constitutional Convention threw a party where they consumed 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, 8 bottles of whiskey, 22 bottles of porter, 8 bottles of hard cider, 12 bottles of beer and 7 bowls of alcoholic punch.
2. Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776 – John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Pretty much everyone else signed it on August 2nd.
3. The Founding Fathers thought Independence Day would be celebrated on July 2nd. John Adams wrote a letter to his wife that said "the Second of July, 1776, will be the most memorable in the history of America."
4. Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay encouraging scholars to find a method for "improving the odor of human flatulence."
5. At 16, Benjamin Franklin regularly published editorials under the guise of Ms. Silence Dogood, a middle-aged widow character he created.
6. Benjamin Franklin was not allowed to write the Declaration of Independence because everyone thought that he's try to slip a joke into the document.
7. Benjamin Franklin wasn't very good at math. Most of his experiments with electricity relied on trial and error.
8. Benjamin Franklin coined a number of electrical terms we still use today. These terms include: battery, brush, charged, condense, conductor, plus, minus, positively and negatively.
9. Benjamin Franklin was an early supporter of abolishment. He tried to abolish slavery in 1790 with a petition to congress.
10. Benjamin Franklin enjoyed "air baths" – reading or writing in his house completely naked.
11. Benjamin Franklin thought the Bald Eagle was a bad national symbol because it was "a bird of bad moral character that does not get his living honestly."
12. He felt the Turkey would be better because it was a "Bird of Courage", and "would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards."
13. Benjamin Franklin purposely misspelled "Pennsylvania" on the state's currency. He did so to deter counterfeiters.
14. Benjamin Franklin thought America should use simplified English spellings. He said words such as "though," "through," and "night" should be spelled "tho," "thru," and "nite."
15. Benjamin Franklin was the first to bring tofu into America.
16. It's said that about two-thirds of Philadelphia showed up for Benjamin Franklin's funeral in 1790.
17. John Adams had a dog named Satan. Satan lived in the White House with the president.
18. John Adams was the only president from the first five to not hold any slaves.
19. Alexander Hamilton wasn't born in the American colonies. He was born on the island Nevis in the West Indies.
20. When he was orphaned at age 13, Alexander Hamilton lied about his age, claiming he was 11 years old in order to make himself a more desirable candidate for a business apprenticeship. Historians still can't agree on his true age.
21. Alexander Hamilton founded the New York Post.
22. Coincidentally, Alexander Hamilton was also the first American politician to have his career ruined by a sex scandal.
23. Alexander Hamilton famously died in a duel with Aaron Burr in Weehawken, NJ. His eldest son, Philip, also died in a duel just three years earlier, also in Weehawken, NJ.
24. Thomas Jefferson thought the Constitution should have been rewritten every 19 years.
25. While in England, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams visited William Shakespeare's house together. They vandalized a chair by chipping off chucks to keep as souvenirs.
26. Thomas Jefferson could read and write in six languages: Greek, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, and English. It's thought that he might have known Arabic, Gaelic, and Welsh too.
27. Thomas Jefferson introduced macaroni and cheese to the United States.
28. Thomas Jefferson told Lewis and Clark to keep an eye out for giant sloths while they were on their expedition.
29. Thomas Jefferson donated his own collection of books to start the Library of Congress. He was paid $23,950 for 6,500 of his own books, which he had been collecting for over 50 years. (That's about $250,000 in today's money.)
30. Despite popular belief, Thomas Jefferson probably didn't smoke marijuana.
31. James Madison was the smallest President ever. He was 5'4" and only weighed about 100 lbs.
32. Contrary to a rumor started online, James Madison did not appoint a Secretary Of Beer.
33. When George Washington died in 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte gave a eulogy and ordered a requiem that would last ten days.
34. George Washington currently has over $300,000 in overdue library fines.
35. George Washington's wooden teeth were actually partially made from human teeth, which he got from his own slaves. (He paid the slaves for their teeth.)
36. When he was elected president, George Washington owned the largest whiskey distillery in the country.
37. George Washington didn't know that Chinese people weren't white. He was surprised when he first encountered a Chinese person.
38. When George Washington found a lost dog during the battle of Germantown, he returned the dog across enemy lines to the dog's owner, his opponent from the battle, General Howe.
39. George Washington was afraid of beingburied alive. In his will, he asked not to be buried until three days after his death.
40. It's Paul Revere, not Sam Adams, on the label of Samuel Adams beer.
41. The Boston Tea Party wasn't really a protest against over-taxed tea. In fact, the Tea Act actually made legal tea cheaper. It was actually a protest led by smugglers of Dutch Tea, led by John Hancock, who couldn't compete with legal tea prices.
42. John Jay didn't sign the Declaration of Independence. He is thought of as a Founding Father because of his contributions to the framing of the document.
43. Jay Street in Brooklyn, NY was named for John Jay.
44. Francis Hopkinson was most likely responsible for designing the first U.S. flag. For his work, he asked the government for "a quarter cask of the public wine" as a "reasonable reward" for the job. They never gave it to him.
45. Robert Morris, Jr. died shortly after attempting to clear a blockage in his penis caused by a urinary tract infection with a whalebone, likely taken from one of his wife's corsets.
This post has been updated to meet our attribution standards.