America: Founded on Founding Father Myths!

The Founding Fathers are some of the most revered individuals in American history. Of course, as time goes by, what they actually did and said and who they really were recedes into history and becomes cherished myth. Over time, the truth has become distorted, birthing legends about the men who founded the United States of America. Thankfully, however, the Founders themselves were excellent at keeping records and diaries about their life events, so it is possible to look back and maybe not read minds, but find out the facts.

9 Active Myths | Suggest a Myth
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MYTH: The Untied States Was Founded as a Christian Nation

While this is a very popular story, it is not actually true. The colonies were founded by people seeking to divorce themselves from England, which was nearly a theocracy and as such, they had no interest in founding a national religion. Most of the founders did not consider themselves Christians, but Deists, and in the Treaty of Tripoli, signed by congress, it is so stated: “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…” While a nice story for some, the United States never had any official religion, and was intentionally founded with none in mind.

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MYTH: The Constitution was Written on Hemp

Saying that the Constitution was written on hemp paper naturally proves the Founding Fathers are advocates for smoking marijuana, right? The hemp advocates may love this one for the ironic potential that this idea offers, but it just isn't so. While all their smoking preferences may not be known, the did not write the constitution on hemp paper. The Declaration of Independence wasn't either, as both were penned on parchment. Now, there are some rough drafts that were written on hemp, as it was less expensive than real parchment, but the final drafts are definitely a more formal material for the occasion.

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MYTH: Thomas Jefferson Signed the Constitution

Naturally, as a Founding Father and future president, most people simply assume that Thomas Jefferson signed the constitution. This, however, is not the case. When all the members of the Constitutional Convention were signing the document in Philadelphia, Jefferson was in Paris working as part of the United States envoy. Naturally, as he helped pen the document, he would not object to it, but the document itself has no actual signature from him.

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MYTH: The British are Coming!

Actually, the British had already arrived. Almost all school children are taught that Paul Revere yelled out, "The British are coming!" while riding his horse through Colonial towns to warn of the British outside of Boston. First, everyone in the colonies were British, as they were not yet an independent country. Beyond this, Revere did not ride alone but with a group of riders, and he actually didn’t complete his ride, being arrested not long after he began. While it is not known exactly what Paul Revere yelled, it most likely was not, "The British are coming."

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MYTH: The Continental Congress Declared Independence on July 4, 1776

The Continental Congress and Founding Fathers did sign the Declaration of Independence, but they actually broke away from British rule on July 2. After that, the document was not completely signed by all of the delegates until the beginning of August, 1776. Independence Day is the 4th of July due to the date written on the Declaration of Independence.

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MYTH: The Turkey was Almost the National Bird

There is common speculation that the Founding Fathers wanted the turkey as the national symbol, as it had been a main source of food that helped the early settlers survive those first winters. This really is not the case as there was no debate at all regarding the national bird. More discussion when into the Great Seal of the United States, during which some Founding Fathers argued for the presence of biblical creatures or mythical creatures. John Adams even wanted Hercules on the icon, but they all decided that the Great Seal of the United States would be the bald eagle.

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MYTH: George Washington had Wooden Teeth

This is another popular tale told to school children, but it is not true at all. While George Washington did have dentures, the dentures were made out of a combination of gold, lead, ivory and both human and animal teeth. While the United States was a new country, they could afford to give the president better dental care than wood dentures.

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MYTH: The Liberty Bell Rang after the Signing of the Declaration of Independence

This is completely false. In fact, the steeple where the bell is located had rotted out at the time and could not support the weight of the bell. So if there was a bell that rung, it was not the Liberty Bell, and it was not in its fabled location.

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MYTH: Delaware Was its Own State

Naturally, most people think of the original thirteen colonies and assume that Delaware was one of them. This is not technically the case. Before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Delaware was part of Pennsylvania, only it had its own legislature. To make thirteen colonies, which could create a deciding vote instead of an even twelve, the Founding Fathers split the state officially in two.