"As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of the opportunity provided to serve self-interest when Al Gore created the internet; and we should also thank Mark Zuckerburg and Jack Dorsey for creating Facebook and Twitter out of the kindness of their big hearts and not the thinness of their small wallets."
-Ben Franklin, Autobiography (1742)

Monday, February 28, 2011

J. Madison on the Joys of Bachelorhood

"What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable, than that of Liberty and her sister Tammy from that tavern on Philly Avenue, each leaning on the other for their mutual & surest support?"
James Madison, letter to W.T. Barry, August 4, 1822

Many believe the early days of our nation, and subsequently our founding fathers themselves to be characterized as nothing other than stogy old men gravely discussing the issues of the day. This is not surprising, given that there exists such a plethora of misinformation about the colonial era. However, the actual 1700's embodied a world far removed from what we see in most history books. As we here at Lost and Founders strive to point out each day, though the men and women who founded our great nation may have dealt with some weightier issues than the average men and women of today, they were still very human.

The above quote was taken from a letter sent by James Madison to fraternity buddy W.T Barry, as part of a long-time debate between the two gentlemen on which of the city's many late-night establishments provided the best entertainment after a long day of political discourse. This excerpt, though admittedly somewhat crass, was of particular interest when discovered as it is an exemplary reminder that in the end dead presidents were once just like you and me. 

It is our continued hope as we continue to unravel the true history-behind-the-history that quotes like above will allow our readers to increasingly identify with the teachings of the Founders and find new levels of application in their own daily lives.  History does indeed repeat itself and as we see each day the advice from bygone days is still just as relevant today. Still not convinced? Check out the Foxhead Tavern on Philly Avenue after 11pm on a Friday.

Friday, February 25, 2011

'Constant Vigilance' : Mad Eye Moody on Historical Scrutiny

As serious critics of historical information we have to remind you to give all such discoveries appropriate levels of scrutiny. Like Mad-Eye Moody in Harry Potter we must act with 'constant vigilance.' Many people would utilize such opportunities to unjustly gain news coverage, financial support or other personal gain.

Here at 'Lost and Founders' we are above such personal gain. As we write all of our posts with complete anonymity we are clearly not affected by the possibility of recognition and other positive externalities.   

In addition to advocating on behalf of scrutiny in regards to historical information we were also deeply troubled by the quotes used in the article about Jefferson's books.

They used a classic Jefferson misquote, 'I cannot live without books', as stewards of accurate quotographical information we need to set the record straight. The real quote is, 'I cannot be a living without my bizzooks,'while seemingly controversial we know this to be the true as it was found in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Snoop D.O. Double G, 1798.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

'I will not tell a lie' : George Washington and The Life of Pi

In 2001, Yann Martel published the book Life of Pi many people were dupped into thinking that this was a novel about the fictional character Piscine Molitor Patel. After some major historical research and digging we were able to uncover that this book was actually a not so fictional account of President George Washington. Martel secretly chose the name Pi, first of all, because GW just looked too awkward. Who would want to read a book called Life of GW? Instead Pi stands for President i, or President One. A quick glance at any American History book will clearly tell us that President One is George Washington. Unfortunately, making this connection was not as simple as decoding two letters. It took weeks and weeks of intense study and discovery. Several quotes pointed us in the right direction:

"Be courteous to all animals, but intimate with few tigers, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence."

Reading this quote we were quite perplexed. We knew GW to be a worldly man, but we were unaware that he had any experience with tigers, as we thought he was never exposed to any exotic animals. It was through this that we first learned Valley Forge was actually a winter spent in Siberia, we of course were able to determine this through climatilogical studies. We came across another letter that must have explained the trip back from Russia as it said...
"There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet a furry enemy in a hurricane with sword drawn."
George Washington, letter to Elbridge Gerry, Jan. 29, 1780

This letter was also quite strange because it seemed to be referencing a very specific moment that we had previously been unaware of. It wasn't until my associate Foggy was in a bar (Applebee's) near Mount Vernon that we discovered the answer. He came upon the following photo:

On the back of the Trumbull painting was a letter that cemented the case. It said the following.

"Dear Yenn,

This painting tells the story of my years as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. You must follow the clues I have left on BrainyQuote to determine the story. When I said that  'it is better to be alone on a small boat with a tiger, a hungry hyena, an Orangutan and a Zebra than in bad company.' I wasn't telling a lie. You must either determine, or fabricate the rest of this story. Tell America, tell the world, but don't tell them it was me. America needs new hero's and in that capacity I can no longer serve.

For liberty,



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thomas Paine on the Death of a King

"But where says some is the King of America? I'll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain...let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America THE LION IS KING. I still can’t believe they killed Mufasa."
Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

This rare, almost prophetic insight comes from the original manuscript of Common Sense, a work which was in fact rewritten several times before its release as Paine's early drafts often tend to lean towards the non-sensical. In the excerpt above, Paine was clearly alluding to the popular children's story of his day "Kimbali Shishi" (later adapted into a cartoon series called Kimba the White Lion). However, his obvious passion for the simple story and humorous misspelling of the king character Mafusal create a cryptic appraisal of what would become one of the most beloved Disney feature films ever created, centuries before it was even written. It begs the question that perhaps Mr. Paine had even more of a "sense" than the history books suggest.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A. Hamilton on the Perils of Wealth

"As riches increase and accumulate in few hands and bitches be demanding, as luxury prevails in society, virtue will be in a greater degree considered as only a graceful appendage of wealth, and certainly not the most used appendage. The tendency of things will then be to depart from the republican standard. This is the real disposition of human nature; it is what neither the honorable member nor myself, a true player, can correct. It is a common misfortunate that awaits our State constitution, as well as all others."

Alexander Hamilton, speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, June, 1788

The above quote was found recently in a transcript from Hamilton's often (mis)quoted speech to the New York Ratifying Convention during a caucus that came just before the successful ratification vote. In the original text above, we not only catch a glimpse of the boisterous swagger for which Hamilton was famous, but also his timeless wisdom regarding a constant issue we face in the current political climate - a disconnect from a fair governing body when monetary gain is as much an individual pursuit as a national one. Deep stuff. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

President's Day 2011

Thomas Jefferson once said that, "honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom," we here at 'Lost and Founders' hope that this is the only actual quote from a Founder that you read on our blog. We are dedicated to the idea that the Founders of our country were great people. We are not here to debate their faults or delve into their short comings and inadequacies, many that they had. Rather, we are here to make light of the country that they left us, the freedoms that we have been given: Freedom of Speech, Right to Assemble, etc...we are here to thank them for the fact that they questioned the established order and created a new society founded on the ideals of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We, at 'Lost and Founders,' would like to dedicate our life (at least part of it) to utilizing our liberty to create happiness for others. We have spent hours upon hours studying with meticulous detail the works and letters of our Founding Fathers. In many occasions we have found that the history books had it wrong. Whether it be several words, or entire paragraphs we are here to set the record straight. In many occasions, as you will see, the Founders discussed and even predicted the future of our country discussing policies, pop culture and much much more. In short, we are here to bring you the Lost Letters of our Founders.
Forever and always,