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Founding Father Notes

For my July 4 blog, I started thinking about the individuals that each played a part in the United States’ fight for freedom. Typical for me, I got distracted while reading about the individuals. It never got finished as a blog. So, I finished my thoughts for the next blog.

I have always been fascinated by John Hancock. He is known to most of us as the largest signature on the Declaration of Independence. At the time of his signing, he supposedly exclaimed something about signing so big, so the King could see it without his spectacles.

I am sure that you have heard the expression before signing some document, “Put your John Hancock right there”. Men like Hancock had great personal stories that brought them to that point in life.  In fact, he had much to lose. He was a wealthy man, due in part to having grown up in a wealthy shipping family.

Hancock was the first and third governor of Massachusetts. Supposedly, he got motivated by the fight over taxation. His boat was stopped to be taxed. There was a question over whether it was really only bringing in 25 bottles of wine, but the men on the boat did swear to it to the British authority. It meant less tax than an entirely filled boat.  Unfortunately for Hancock, one of those men changed their story and Hancock was brought to trial. Needing an attorney to represent him, he hired local attorney John Adams.

Adams must have done a good job as his lawyer. Because it was an admiralty case, the law did not provide for a jury trial. However, history tells us that the charges were dropped without explanation. Apparently, this served as motivation to Hancock. Plus, he probably developed a friendship with Adams that carried over to the Continental Congress.

Each of the men had their own story of motivation, but they were also very individualistic; and, of course, human. Sunday’s Parade Magazine recited some of the personal details of some of them.

Alexander Hamilton was known as a dashing figure. He was the first public figure to be embroiled in a public sex scandal. He confessed to his misconduct but then went on to describe his indiscretions in such detail that it made his other colleagues uncomfortable.

George Washington was known for his great courage. In battle, he had two different horses shot from beneath him. He apparently was also a bit of a sentimentalist. He called one of his hunting dogs “Sweet Lips”.

John Adams was known as “His Rotundity” because of his stout stature. However, letters to his wife have revealed that he was also a lawyer with a silver tongue. He wrote such lines to her as “I am, with an Ardour that Words have not power to express, yours”. Ardour is a word that I had to look up. Defined as “feelings of great intensity and warmth”. Hopefully, his wife had a better vocabulary than I.

Principled, committed and motivated are just some of the words that I have heard to describe our founding fathers. The stories just made me want to put a few in a blog. There are so many good ones to read.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a set of pic o’s of the founding dogs… well, maybe that still needs more work:


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