5 Weird Facts about the Founding Fathers

The founding fathers are regarded as a pantheon of extraordinary men in American culture, a cabal of freedom fighters who turned a wild expanse of land into a powerful empire driven by liberty. They are glorified by popular culture and history books because their ideas still hold a great deal of influence over our society, but they were anything but perfect. They were often hypocritical, preaching equality for all men while disregarding the rights of blacks and women, endorsing slave ownership, and getting involved with sleazy political deals. However, they were anything but bland and no one can deny that the US was founded by a rich and interesting cast of characters, flaws and all. Here are some of the coolest facts you may not know about the founding fathers, free of any unfounded rumors or misinformation.

5. George Washington’s ‘wooden’ teeth weren’t made of wood
One of the most  frequently joked-about facts about the founding fathers is that old George Washington had a set of wooden teeth. However, his teeth were actually made of gold, ivory, lead, and animal teeth. This makes more sense considering that a man of Washington’s stature and fame had more than enough money to treat his mouth with care- one would imagine that wooden teeth would be quite uncomfortable. The dentures even had a spring and bolt system to help him open and shut his jaw.
4. Thomas Jefferson was in severe debt and died that way
That’s right, Jefferson had financial troubles for a large part of his life and died very deep in the hole: about $107,000 of debt to be exact. In case you’re wondering what that would be with modern-day inflation, it’s roughly estimated to be from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000. So how did he get himself into such financial straits? There were a few factors in play that had a vicious cycle effect that quickly drained what funds he had. He inherited a great deal of debt from his father-in-law John Wayles when he passed in 1774. His main source of income was some farmland he owned being worked by slaves, but the profits were inconsistent. He also loaned out portions of his own money as a creditor, but like himself, they frequently missed payments and caused him further distress. All of this was exacerbated by Jefferson’s lavish lifestyle, he lived well beyond his means splurging on wine, constructing new buildings, and furnishing his home expensively. His family sold much of his property after his death to make up for his stagnating debts.
3. Alexander Hamilton and his son both died in duels to the death (at the same location)
Who says American history can’t be badass? Alexander Hamilton and sitting vice-president Aaron Burr had a stormy relationship for years because of their political differences and several incidents of public defamation and criticism. Things got especially bitter after Hamilton convinced Jefferson to exclude Burr from the 1804 election ticket, publicly criticizing Burr both politically and personally as a dishonest and selfish man. One thing led to another, and the two men found themselves shooting pistols at each other in a clearing until Hamilton was mortally wounded. This was at a time when such duels were in the process of being outlawed in northern states, so this event made a big political splash- Burr’s political career was completely ended and he endured much criticism, some even calling him a murderer. Interestingly enough, Hamilton’s son died from a duel in the same spot in 1801.
2. The George Washington cherry tree story is a complete lie
If you went to elementary school in America, chances are you’ve heard the famous tale about our fearless leader George Washington when he was just a little lad. Apparently, he had cut down his fathers valuable cherry tree with a hatchet. His father was furious and asked George if he knew anything, to which he famously replied, ”I can’t tell a lie, Pa; you know I can’t tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet.” This touching tale of youthful honesty is really a complete and utter fabrication by the writer of his first biography, Parson Weems. In all likeliness, he made the story up because he was a shrewd businessman- he know what the people wanted from a book like this and maximized his profit by spinning tales about the American hero. The weird part is that this story is still told as fact by many schoolteachers today who don’t bother researching their lessons.
1. Thomas Jefferson fathered several illegitimate children with one of his slaves
Chances are you’ve heard about Jefferson’s sex scandal with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings. It remains a topic of debate and one of the most prominent political scandals in American history. After years of analysis, most historians agree that Jefferson fathered 6 children with Hemings and tried to hide them from the public eye. A DNA analysis was performed in 1998, but it was inconclusive- however many genealogists familiar with the involved family trees say that it is highly likely that Jefferson was indeed the father.

Source : http://urbantitan.com/5-weird-facts-about-the-founding-fathers/ 

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