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Surprising Facts About the Founding Fathers You Didn’t Learn in School

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Get ready for the most fascinating things you never knew about the Founding Fathers. These  little-known tidbits about former Presidents of the United States and the group of men who created America with its founding documents may change your view of the American Revolution completely. which of the first five presidents did not own a slave? Who married a 17-year-old? Who was a volunteer firefighter, and what president was an awesome dancer? You won’t find out in the history books! The only way to find out is to read on below.


Benjamin Franklin Volunteered For The Fire Department

Benjamin Franklin not only gave birth to the United States and invented all kinds of stuff you’ve probably heard of, like bifocals, he also put out literal fires. Franklin not only established America’s first volunteer fire department, but he was a firefighter himself and volunteered after witnessing a local blaze.


John Adams Was The Only President Of The First Five Who Didn’t Own A Person

Kudos to John Adams! While the four presidents who held the job before him were slave owners, Adams was in staunch opposition. Adams and his son John Quincy Adams both refused to own a human being when they moved into the White House. Clearly Adams knew that slavery was a divisive issue and a human rights disaster, even though he died several decades before the Civil War.


Benjamin Franklin Invented Your Rocking Chair

Here’s just one of many cool Benjamin Franklin inventions. Back in the 1700s, Franklin fitted his armchair’s legs with curved wooden pieces, giving him credit for the invention of the rocking chair. And it’s not a huge surprise. Franklin also figured out electricity, so clearly he had all kinds of tricks up his sleeve.


Thomas Jefferson Had 6,500 Books

Thomas Jefferson was such a hoarder of books that he once said “I cannot live without books.” Don’t believe him? This Founding Father helped create the Library of Congress. In its early years, Jefferson sold his collection of 6,500 books to the Library of Congress for almost $24,000.


Benjamin Franklin Could Yell At You In Six Languages

In more Ben Franklin news, America’s oldest founding father was also a polyglot. No, that doesn’t mean anything dirty – it means he loved and learned languages. In addition to English, Franklin spoke French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Latin. Now that’s a good education.


John Adams Went to Harvard… At The Age Of 16

Most people get rejected from Harvard, but not John Adams. In fact, he put every student in the United States to shame by attending the prestigious school when he was only sixteen, almost a colonial Doogie Howser. Adams graduated within four years and excelled at his studies.


Thomas Jefferson Designed UVA’s Rotunda

Politician or architect? Many people know that Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia in 1819 but few people know he actually designed the school’s most recognizable landmark. Clearly planning the prestigious school’s curriculum wasn’t enough for the overachieving Founding Father, he also had to plan the design of the school’s famous Rotunda.


George Washington = World Class Dancer

Most people don’t think of the Founding Fathers as a very celebratory bunch, but that would be the wrong impression. In fact, the first president of the United States happened to be a pretty good dancer. Dancing was one of the many activities George Washington loved to do with his wife Martha, and he even studied formal dancing as a teenage boy. Thankfully, he didn’t become a professional dancer, or history might have looked very different.


Vanilla Ice Cream Was Thomas Jefferson’s Jam

The Founding Fathers may have predated the first ice cream parlors by a century, but even in the colonial era, they couldn’t get enough of the frozen treat. Just like Ronald Reagan loved jelly beans and Bill Clinton loved fast food, Thomas Jefferson was obsessed with ice cream. In fact, his love of vanilla ice cream became history, as the first known recipe written down in the United States was Jefferson’s vanilla ice cream recipe. George Washington also loved ice cream, and spent $200 on an ice cream maker in 1790.


James Madison Weighed 100 Pounds

America’s smallest Founding Father was James Madison. He was a very little man, standing at just 5’4″. In addition to being the shortest president ever, Madison never weighed more than 100 pounds, making him practically pocket sized.


James Madison And Thomas Jefferson Were Arrested Together

James Madison and Thomas Jefferson didn’t just found America together, they were arrested together, too! The crime? Joy riding in a carriage on the Lord’s Day. The Founding Fathers were caught riding on a Sunday, which was illegal in Vermont. Both future presidents were arrested by the police.


Benjamin Frankllin Wrote A Letter About Farts To The Royal Academy Of Brussels

Benjamin Franklin loved farting. And that’s a historical fact. In 1781, he wrote a paper titled “Fart Proudly” (or, less excitingly “A Letter To A Royal Academy” and “To the Royal Academy of Farting”) while he was living abroad, serving as US Ambassador to France. The essay suggested that research should be done looking into improving the odor of human farts. The best part? He ended the essay with a fart pun (!), writing that compared to the practical applications of this discussion, other sciences were “scarcely worth a FART-HING.”

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