5.20.2010

Our Founding Scoundrels

I have to tell you, dear reader, that I am learning some stuff about our "Founding Fathers," who should be called our "Founding Scoundrels." I have been trying to listen along to some fairly new biographies of all of them. So far, I've examined Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and John Paul Jones. John Adams is the only one, so far, who lived his life on a high moral plane. (I believe the beloved Washington was so boring, he didn’t have a choice.)

Most of them, including Adams, left their wives to rear the children and maintain hearth, home and the family income.

According to some pretty astute biographers, most were womanizers – a-drinkin’ and a-whorin’ as old Ben would say - and Thomas Jefferson was, in my opinion, a HYPOCRITE. Not just for keeping his slaves while saying all men are created equal – he did not even free them upon his death; they were sold to pay off his debts. Not even for fathering at least one (and probably all) of slave girl Sally Hemings’ children. Jefferson used surrogates to level brutal personal attacks on some of his best friends, including John Adams, when it was politically expedient for himself.

The point is: politics and most politicians have been rotten since Day One, and the miracle is that this nation has survived and risen above it through the years. Something is working, and that's a good thing.

***

The books, so far:

“1776,” David McCullough
“John Adams,” David McCullough
“American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson,” Joseph J. Ellis
“Benjamin Franklin: An American Life,” Walter Isaacson
“John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy,” Evan Thomas
“Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation,” Cokie Roberts

8 comments:

Jerry Critter said...

"a-drinkin’ and a-whorin’"

Now I understand why men become politicians, but women? You mean they like a-drinkin' and a-whorin' also? But then again, there weren't any Founding Mothers.

B.J. said...

Critter: LOL!!!! The women were too busy advising their husbands on how to run the country. See the last book on the list! And, thanks for dropping by! BJ

tnlib said...

Didn't ole Ben live in France for about 17 years? In my book he was the worst of of them - and he was so damn ugly.

But given the times and the formation of a new nation, I'm not sure leaving the wives at home to tend to the children and the homes/plantations was such a bad idea. I think there was genuine belief that the family would be safer from the British. As it turned out the war lasted much longer, was far more extensive and farms were burned down.

Jerry Critter said...

It is amazing what power and money can do for your looks. It was true then and it is true now.

Frodo, for the Defense said...

Frodo for the defense. Let us remember that not a single member of the FF Club ever remarked about having a "wide stance." To the best of Frodo's knowledge, none ever complained about their seating at the rear of Air Force One. Additionally, Frodo is unable to document a single instance in which Congressional Interns were fitted with knee pads in their behalf.

Frodo believes that we need more men like Wilbur Mills ("She was just a stripper at the Silver Slipper, but she had her Ways & Means"). Ben Franklin couldn't come close to Wilbur.

Tiny said...

Seems it's a good idea the wives were not with the "Founding Fathers" with their 'a-drinkin' and a-whorin' or they probably wouldn't have lived long enough to be written about in the history books.

We have a lot of congressmen who like to repeat history!

tnlib said...

I once wrote about "bipartisan affairs" on my blog. To be fair, I researched the affairs of women in elected office. There have been none.

B.J. said...

Thanks everyone for the comments!

Tiny: You are right!

tnlib: What would we do without you? Thanks!

And thanks, Frodo, you reinforce my point! (See last paragraph.)

BJ