8 things to know about the Founding Fathers

8 things to know about the Founding Fathers

Legends and stories like Benjamin Franklin advocating a method for "improving the odor of human flatulence" have surrounded the Founding Fathers through the centuries. Some have proved true, others not so much. Here's a list of legends and facts surrounding some of America's finest statesmen.

8. RUMOR: Although they were some of the most prestigious and prudent men in American history, the Founding Fathers are said to have loved their booze. Evidence indicates that during the long, hot Constitutional Convention summer of 1787, delegates drank like Mel Gibson Shia Labeouf at a New Year's Eve bash. According to a bar tab from one local tavern--racked up days before the document was signed--delegates drank enough to clean out a small liquor store: 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.

All that debating apparently made them thirsty.

7. RUMOR: At first blush, Benjamin Franklin would seem the most likely man to write the Declaration of Independence. However, legend has it that he wasn't given the honor because his peers feared he would insert a joke. This rumor might actually have some truth to it, as Franklin was widely known for his rapier wit. Unfortunately, his wittiness quite possibly led to him missing out on a historic opportunity. The honor instead was given to a young Thomas Jefferson.


6. RUMOR: Benjamin Franklin probably would've been today's avid texter, as he was a fan of using short-hand writing. In fact, it was suggested that Franklin loved short-hand so much that he advocated the simplification of all English words! Now, next time you hear someone associate the denigration of the English language with texting or Tweeting, just mention that one of America's most eloquent and brilliant writers probably would've been a huge fan.

5. FACT: Although one of the most influential American patriots, James Madison was the country's smallest president. He weighed just 100 pounds and measured a meager five foot four. We're hoping that Madison was not responsible for a large portion of that bar bill (see above).

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Who's your favorite Founding Father?

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4. FACT: George Washington reportedly had a fear of being buried alive. This still remains a rumor as there's no written evidence to support it. However, what is a fact is that in his will he stipulated that he was not to be buried for three days after his death – presumably to make sure he was actually dead.


3. FACT: Samuel Adams beer is one of the most popular beers in America. But the face on the patriotically-themed beer is that of Paul Revere (left in picture below), not Sam Adams (right in picture below). Who knew?


2. RUMOR: Reportedly, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were such fans of William Shakespeare that they clipped off a piece of his chair as a souvenir when visiting his house in Europe. The story is feasible since Jefferson and Adams were two of the most eloquent and brilliant English-speaking writers and studied Shakespeare's style in depth. But there is no direct evidence to support the claim.


1. FACT: The Declaration of Independence was actually approved by the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. Most of the Founding Fathers thought that this day would be the day remembered and celebrated throughout American history instead of the day we currently celebrate as Independence Day. Even John Adams believed July 2 was most appropriate as he wrote a letter to his wife saying, "the Second of July, 1776, will be the most memorable in the history of America."


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