"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, September 17, 2012

Merry Constitution Day!


Today, September 17th, is National Constitution Day, the holiday where we celebrate the signing of the US Constitution in 1787, as well recognize those people who have become US citizens.

We assume that most of our readers already know most everything about this auspicious holiday, but just in case here are a few interesting facts about Constitution Day, courtesy of your neighborhood historians, the Lost and Founders:

Fact: Constitution Day was established in 1787 as the second act of the Constitutional Convention (the first obviously being the signing of the document itself).

Fact: Due to a printing error in the Farmer's Almanac in which notice of the new holiday was spread across the young country, many states began celebrating "Constitutional Day" for several years. This involved making sure one had at least one bowel movement in the morning, and eating foods high in fiber. Communication between states in these early decades was so poor that the error was actually not corrected until 1791 (4 years later) when government officials began campaigning for office during the month of September and were shocked to discover how their constituency had been celebrating the signing of our document of law. In 1792, the holiday was renamed to "Citizenship Day" and a focus was placed on newly recognized citizens in order to remove some of the constitutional stench stigma.

Fact: The town of Lousville, Ohio, began celebrating Constitution Day as a separate holiday from Citizenship day in 1952 and has since referred to itself as Constitution Town. The town was unaware that there was already a holiday celebrating the same thing that was using a different name because of some confusion and shit.

Fact: Citizenship Day was renamed back to Constitution Day (also merging in the local Constitution Day celebrated in Ohio) in 2004 in order to mandate that all public schools focus their educational efforts on the Constitution and its impact for at least one day each year.

Fact: The proper celebratory greeting for this holiday is "Merry Constitution Day!" or "Constitoot toot a lootion to you!" *

For anyone living in the DC area - the Lost and Founders will be doing our annual Constitution Day bake-sale today in the foyer of the National Archives building. Come take a look at the document that laid the groundwork for our nation, and take a delicious bite out of a Constitution Cookie while you're at it! Proceeds to go the Lost and Founders Historical Research Foundation.

Merry Constitution Day everyone!

*Editor's note: It's really not hard to see how this was misconstrued.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Tree of Liberty and Lance Armstrong

Thomas Jefferson, unsurprisingly, commented on the Lance Armstrong blood doping controversy 225 years ago.

On November 13th, 1787 he wrote a letter to William Smith saying:

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the doped blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure."

Jefferson was obviously talking about Armstrong's battle with the USADA. It seems as though Armstrong's blood has already been spilled time and time again as they have asked for numerous samples. The resolution seems quite simple. It's time for the tyrants to spill blood as well, USADA owes a piece of flesh.

For our tree of liberty to be strong and healthy we need the blood of both, the manure is week and can't be made stronger without the blood of the USADA. Keep fighting Lance! Jefferson believes in you.


Monday, July 23, 2012

My Strange Addiction: Thomas Jefferson

It’s no secret that Thomas Jefferson lived in a crippling amount of debt.  He owed over $107,000, about $2,000,000 by today’s standards, at the time of his death in 1826 and throughout his life he took many different approaches to handling that debt. In 1815 he sold his library, a collection of some 6,700 books, to the US Government for $25,000. This deal alleviated some of his financial burden, but more importantly, these books became the Library of Congress, and they continue to be the nucleus of that library today.

Now the day after these books are boarded up and sent away, Jefferson writes in a letter to John Adams “I cannot live without books”. For just about two centuries Americans have lauded these words, we use them to illustrate the importance of reading, learning, and education. What most Americans don’t know, is that in a separate letter to John Adams, sent years later, Jefferson writes:

 “I cannot live, without scented hair powder”.

You laugh, but he actually writes this. I’m not kidding. There’s no way we at Lost and Founders could have made this up.  Now some will look at this and assume that Thomas Jefferson was overly fond of Hyperbole, that perhaps this exaggeration was just a part of what made him such a good writer, but we at Lost and Founders, committed as we are to “Following the truth wherever it may lead” (TJ said that too), have uncovered the truth. Jefferson literally could not live without his scented hair powder. The man who penned the Declaration, was an addict.

We’re all familiar with TLC’s hit television show “MyStrange Addiction” in which we witness the compelling stories of individuals battling unusual obsessive behaviors (like drinking urine, and eating your deceased husbands ashes, you know common things like that). Had the show been around in the early 19th Century, Thomas Jefferson would undoubtedly have been the star.

There’s no way to know exactly when or where the addiction began, but leading historians do believe that Jefferson would have first been exposed to scented hair powder in 1760 when he begins his time at the College of William & Mary, an institution notorious for the abuse of this substance. 

While in the company of his mentor George Wythe and Royal Governor Fauquier (both wig wearing men) Jefferson might have been peer pressured into dabbling with scented hair powder. During the Revolution, and afterwards, while Jefferson is in Paris serving as Minister to France, there was no shortage of hair powder and Jefferson would have found it easy to keep up his habit. Problems begin when his times in Paris end.

Jefferson’s close contemporaries grow concerned about their friend’s abuse. In 1800, shortly after Jefferson secures the presidency, John Adams decides to host an intervention at Monticello. When Jefferson walks into his parlor to find Adams, George Washington, and Alexander Hamilton preparing to address his problem, he is so enraged that he has Dolley Madison forcibly remove them from his premise. This event marks the schism between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, Jefferson and Adams wouldn’t speak again for twelve years. 

In this period scented hair powder begins to ravage his fortunes, leaving him in a suffocating amount of debt that eventually forces the family to auction off their entire estate.  The deterioration extends to his body. This portrait depicts a Jefferson clearly suffering from hair product abuse, I mean, just look at his wig.
On July 4th, 1826, 50 years to the day he signed the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson’s habit finally catches up with him. At the young age of 83, he dies an untimely death from what most historians believe to be an overdose. Also, old age.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Jurassic Park and the Berlin Wall

If you love Jurassic Park it is time that you know the truth. Jurassic Park was not a book written by Michael Crichton. It is the story of one of our more recent Presidents. Ronald Reagan is famous for his imperative ‘Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall.’ Until now the world has been unaware of the covert operation led by President Reagan to complete this task. Until now no documented evidence had been available. Recently we were able to uncover a sketch of Reagan’s original ‘trickle-down’. We’re not talking about economics folks. We’re talking about an all-out Velociraptor rampage. 

Reagan led the charge himself to begin tearing down the wall. The Germans finished it, but wouldn’t you with a huge ass raptor breathing down your neck?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Project Glass and Benjamin Franklin

Our technophile readers will likely recognize the name "Project Glass" as an exciting new concept technology currently being developed by Google. It was recently given a large spotlight at the company's annual I/O event last week.


Project Glass is essentially a new way of viewing and interacting with the web, via a device worn on a person's head in much the same way as a pair of glasses. In some of Google's current prototypes, the device can actually be attached to an existing pair of glasses, basically allowing users to access new information as if were hovering right in front of their eyes.

It's pretty fascinating stuff and if successful stands to potentially affect the course of human history and how we interact with the world around us. Naturally, we at the Lost and Founders take as much interest in the future as we do in the past, and are very excited about the possibilities this new technology holds. However, we do have one gripe with Google and Project Glass, and that is that technically they stole the idea from one Benjamin Franklin.

It is a well-documented fact that the revolutionary Ben Franklin was a prolific inventor. His countless experiments set numerous scientific standards in his time and many of his inventions laid the groundwork for technology we still use today. Google's "Project Glass" so happens to be one of those inventions: a lesser-known design based on Franklin's original bifocals that he once dubbed with the working title of "The Franklin Floaters" (admittedly not his best name).

Franklin's Floaters were a set of bifocal glasses to which were connected thin brass wires that ended in tiny clamps. In Franklin's design one could attach a document to the clamps and read completely hands-free. Granted, there were several flaws in this original design that ultimately kept it from becoming popular - namely that affixing anything heavier than a few sheets of paper would cause the wearer terrible neck pains after just a few hours of use. No less a concern was the fact that it proved difficult to walk down the street with the wearer's view completely obstructed (Editor's Note: This latter issue was eventually remedied by Thomas Edison years later when he attached a small lamp to the Floaters that could pass light through special paper and render it transparent. Although the Floater's still did not catch on, this 2nd generation design was the original head lamp used by miner's).

Despite its flaws, Franklin's Floaters were a revolutionary concept well ahead of their time. Gone were the days of being forced to hold a document while reading, which according to Franklin's early journals proved a huge time saver that directly resulted in the creation of several of his more lasting innovations.

So 5 years from now when everyone is walking around video conferencing each other with their eyes and reading this blog as it floats magically in front of them, all we ask is that you take a moment to consider that there is usually quite a bit of lost history behind all of our modern day miracles. And about 83% of the time that history is in fact Benjamin Franklin.

                                  National Treasure (2004) movie props Ocular Device replica spectacles prop

Happy Early Independence Day America!

- The Lost and Founders

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Hottest Bromance of the Revolution

In 1820 Thomas Jefferson wrote “ I am sure that I really know many, many, things, and none more surely than that I love you with all my heart”. 

You might imagine that such an endearing and affectionate line was something that Jefferson would have traced out for his wife Martha. You could also potentially imagine a situation in which Jefferson stealthily scrawls this line onto a napkin before furtively passing it over to Sally Hemmings. The truth of the matter is that Martha had recently passed away a mere forty years before and so the writing of such a letter to her would get Jefferson zero brownie points. Equally futile would be writing said letter to Sally, a house slave who had never been taught to read. The identity of the recipient is one that might shock, horrify, and dismay our loyal base of readers, particularly the large portion of you that are members of the Westboro Baptist Church.

The letter, was written to John Adams.

Now, as difficult as it is for us at Lost&Founders to dispel the heteronormative interpretation of the American Founding that our great nation of mavericks has so long held near and dear to its heart, we have the solemn duty to “follow truth wherever it may lead”. We present to you the evidence, free of bias, and ask you to form your own opinions. The last thing we need is the entire state of North Carolina simultaneously partaking in HareKiri the time-honored tradition of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment.

Our story begins in 1775. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams meet while serving as delegates to the Continental Congress that gathers in Philadelphia… the City of Brotherly Love… coincidence? Nope. Now mainstream historians have tried to tell us for centuries that Jefferson and Adams struggled with the distance that serving the Revolution was putting between them and their respective wives, but a recently discovered portrait done in 1776 by Gilbert Stuart suggests otherwise:

With this irrefutable evidence brought to light, it becomes both necessary and proper to reevaluate past conceptions. Today, we do believe that Philadelphia offered Jefferson and Adams an escape from their unhappy and sexually frustrating home lives.

The next chapter in the saga can be aptly called Jefferson in Paris. After Martha passes away in 1782, Jefferson is finally able to partake in the pursuit of happiness. He follows Adams to Europe where he takes on the title of American Minister to France but the trip ends up being little more than a five-year Paris shopping spree. It’s at this point that we believe Abigail Adams gets wind of what’s going on, takes John away with her to England, and forces an end to the relationship. Adams would write “The greatest regret I have in departing is an Interruption of that intimate Correspondence with you, which is one of the most agreeable Events in my Life”.

Jefferson and Adams wouldn’t talk for decades. Historians have attributed this to political partisanship and bitter campaigning but that’s just not the case. Abby, the main bitch in charge, was jealous of Jeffy, and it wasn’t until she softened with old age that Jefferson and Adams are able to rekindle their friendship in what many historians have referred to as the most touching correspondence to grace the pages of American History.

On July 4th, 1826, fifty years to the day that both men signed the Declaration of Independence, John Adams passes away. His last words are “Thomas Jefferson still lives”, you see, the two had an ongoing bet about which one of them would be the first to go, and John Adams was wrong. Jefferson had passed away a mere three hours before! There was no Facebook, there was no telephone, there was no expedited pony express to let one know about the other’s fate. But if you ask us, it was true love. Jefferson passed, and Adams pined away.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Thomas Jefferson supports Theresa Sullivan

The Lost and Founders team would like to take a moment to weigh in on a current issue at the University of Virginia regarding the recent ousting of President Theresa Sullivan due to "philosophical differences" between her leadership style and that of key members of the Board of Visitors. As UVa alumni, we echo the sentiments of the many students, faculty, and fellow alums that are outraged and feel that Sullivan was treated unfairly by the BOV.

Our loyal readers know that we take great pride in looking back to the words of our Founding Fathers for key advice on navigating the issues of the present day. We would like to point out that Thomas Jefferson himself, former President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia, once made a statement in a letter to friend and colleague James Madison that may in fact be quite applicable in this current debate:

"In times of great levity don't let the dragass hand occupy the rectum for too long. It causes great irritant and will eventually need to be removed. Simon says."

While the un-liberal arts trained eye may see this quote as quite straightforward in referring to the bowel movements of our favorite founder, upon closer inspection we find that it's far less "shitty" and rather quite clairvoyant. Indeed, the above statement, long thought to be a quote about more crude things - was actually Jefferson predicting the future of his beloved University of Virginia.

Rectum is the Greek foundation of the modern word rector. It was widely used to reference political figures in ancient Greece and later carried over to Latin where it provided a basis for the modern day English translation. In Greek as well as Latin, Rectum is a 2nd declension noun and the plural genitive case is Rectorum.

The political usage originally came about after the Trial and Death of Socrates, after which Plato became quite anti-establishment. He began to joke that Archon's should no longer be referred to as the Head of the Council and rather they should referred to as the "Butt of the Council." He thus dubbed the group of them as the Rectorum or Rector (singular). This became hip in the underground rave culture so to speak in Athens and was instantly popularized. It lost its negative connotation in the Middle Ages when the Catholic church picked it up after misunderstanding a Platonian document that was in truth more of a rant about Socrates death. Since then the word Rector has been venerated by all...except Jefferson, who as a Latin scholar spent a great deal of personal time researching the dead language. When he founded the University of Virginia, he decided to call the head of the Board of Visitors the Rector as a joke between himself and presidential cronies James Monroe and James Madison that whoever was leading was destined to be the butt of all jokes and should not be taken completely seriously.

Now to "dragass." If you simply capitalize the 'D' and throw in an apostrophe it becomes "Dragas's hand." As Helen Dragas is the current Rect[um]or and the principle player in the dismissal of Sullivan, it can be argued this term was in fact part of a very poignant statement by Mr. Jefferson, whom as we have evidenced in countless posts had an astonishing amount of foresight bordering on the mystical. If you are asking for a more clear sign that Jefferson most certainly would have taken a side in the the recent dispute between Dragas and Sullivan, we don't know that one can be provided.

Finally, if you read closely you may notice one more bit of strangeness in the "Simon says" addendum to the quote above. This was in fact (fun sidenote) the beginning of the game Simon says. It has also always been thought to be an inside joke among friends, and it wasn't until now that we realized just how impressive the magnitude of Jefferson's clairvoyance is. We believe that this was actually a nod centuries in advance to one John Simon, the current UVa Provost, who seems to be aligned with Jefferson himself in supporting the academic integrity upon which the University of Virginia is founded.

There you have it. The Founder hath spoken. If you are a student, alumnus, or faculty member of UVa, or even just a friend to the University, please speak up and let the BOV know how you feel.

- The Lost and Founders

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Inspirational Leadership: FDR and Dennis Rodman

Many people recognize FDR as the man that reinvigorated a nation. He led us out of depression and shepherded us through World War II. We here at Lost and Founders recognize him for other aspects of his inspirational leadership.

In 1884 the following photograph was captured:

We had a hard time deciphering this picture ourselves, is that a mullet, or an ugly girl...oh wait...it's Franklin Delano Roosevelt the first female President of the United States of 'Merica.

He was badass before Chuck Norris invented the term. He rocked a dress before Dennis Rodman could even spell the word, well he still can't but that is besides the point. Thank you FDR for not only leading our country out of depression but for your transformational inspiration.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Seven Prophecies of John Adams

John Adams, second President of the United States of America,  is widely respected by history for his shrewd political theories and unshakable dedication to the growth of the young American dream. He is less well known for his fascinating if not downright uncanny knack for predicting the future.

Beginning in his late childhood and continuing throughout his adult life, Adams' was often recorded as interjecting strange prophetic statements into everyday conversation. Sources say he would could be talking about anything at any time and then suddenly launch into a series of quick, pointed statements about a completely unrelated subject that nearly always halted the conversation. In his early years, these occurrences were disregarded as being caused by a short attention span and lack of social grace (two traits Adams was also known for) but thanks to his political years during which his conversations were recorded and quoted more often for posterity, historians have been able to pinpoint trends in this strange behavior. In truth, all evidence points to John Adams being one of American history's most powerful clairvoyants.

Careful analysis indicates that Adams predicted some of the most important as well as some of the most trivial events in history, from the independence and rise of the United States to the cancellation of "Are you there, Chelsea?" after just one miserable season. Though there have been countless supposed predictions, many of which are rumored to be fakes from Adams' impersonators, there are seven statements made between the years 1756 and 1799 that historians collectively dub "The Seven Prophecies of John Adams." These seven statements, all of which are included below and many of which have already come true, provide real insight into the secret life of our mysterious second President:

The Seven Prophecies of John Adams

"This country will be a free and independent nation, unshackled from the chains of any who came before it." - spoken in 1756, while commenting on the juicy quality of a dinner ham.

"We will one day carry the world in the pockets of our trousers." - spoken in 1764 to a confused waitress in a Philadelphia tavern, who promptly slapped him for impropriety.

"The first woman President will be the one to colonize the moon." - spoken in 1768 to Benjamin Franklin during an argument over who should pay for breakfast.

"North wins." - spoken in 1771 in his sleep as recorded by his wife.

"English will be the most respectable language in the world and the most universally read and spoken in the next century, if not before the end of this one."  - spoken in 1780 to a cobbler in Boston while purchasing a new pair of shoes. 

(Editor's note: this one came true just last week http://allafrica.com/stories/201205241173.html)

"There will be a book of faces and everyone will read it for free. When the opportunity arises to purchase the book, it will not be worth as much as everyone thought it would be." - shouted from a outhouse while visiting his childhood home in 1784

"The men with the red socks will triumph in 1903, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918, 2004, 2006, 2013, and 202." - spoken in 1798 during a congressional taxation debate.

As we always say here at Lost and Founders, if you want to know the future, you just need to look at the past.

The Lost and Founders

Friday, May 11, 2012

William Short: FratStar of the Revolution

Until a recent breakthrough by leading William Short scholar Anthony Noble, very little was known about the man that Thomas Jefferson referred to as his “adoptive son”. William Short was a Founding Father, a brilliant diplomat, a philanthropic millionaire, but what is without doubt his greatest contribution to our country, and to the world, has lain in obscurity since his death in 1849. Jefferson may have drafted the Declaration, Madison may have penned the constitution, but these accomplishments are trivial when compared to the lasting legacy of William Short’s greatest achievement: the development of the modern Fraternity Rush process. At Lost&Founders, the gravity of this event and its significance to the very fabric of Americana, does not escape us. This article seeks to shed light on the man who did more to shape the American experience than the rest of the Generation of 1776 combined (excluding of course Dolley Madison who brought ice cream to America, frickya).

William Short attended the College of William & Mary between 1777 and 1781. There, he was a founder and president of Pi Beta Kappa, America’s first fraternity. Now, fraternities at the time were unrecognizable from the beacons of chivalrous virtue we know and admire today. In his day, frats like ΠΒΚ were more like literary and debate societies where brothers could partake in intelligent dialogue in an environment free of the distractions of the outside world. No beer, no biddies, these brothers literally had a 0:0 chill-to-pull ratio. Short was quick in realizing that the solution to this problem was coming up with a more selective process by which to regulate who would be allowed into the fraternity. Only by fostering a sense of brotherhood, of elitism, and of chronic alcoholism, would America’s young men be prepared to perpetuate the Republican Experiment.

In order to understand the influences that went into making Fraternity Rush the flawless institution it is today, it is necessary to first examine the events in William Short’s life that helped shape the process.  In dividing Short’s life into phases reminiscent to those of Rush, historian Anthony Noble has managed to make crystal clear the connections that firmly tie Short’s quest to be American Minister to France with the quest thousands of college freshman undertake every year to score a bid at a top tier fraternity.

Open House & First Round Invites - William Short, like rushees today, showed up on the political scene looking to meet the boyz in blazers. He quickly befriends Jefferson, who shares his alma mater, and attempts to butter up to “brothers’ like Madison and Monroe. Short is given a figurative “first round invite” when he is asked to serve as Jefferson’s personal secretary in Paris. Like overeager freshmen across the nation, he sets his sights on a top-tier position, in this case, the position of American Minister to France.

Second Round Invites- Rush doesn’t always work the way we want it to. William Short, snubbed from his top choice, settles on a respectable-enough position as a minister to the Netherlands. It is from his time there that we get timeless Rush traditions, namely, booze n’ biddiez. A hot affair with a married duchess named Rosalie? This is what college is all about.

Third Round Invites & a Bid- So France didn’t work out, he ends up getting replaced in the Netherlands, and then he’s snubbed from Spain. Short must’ve been thinking that maybe GRΣΣK life isn’t for him after all… that is, until he gets his bid. With the election of Thomas Jefferson to the presidency, William Short is promised a position as the first American Minister to Russia.

Pledging- After being snubbed from his top choice, and from his second, and from his third…. William Short finally feels as if he’s found the “house” for him.  It is his next experience that gives birth to the traditions of hazing that every rising member must endure in the name of brotherhood. President Jefferson submitted Short’s nomination, but he sent him over to Paris before the Senate had a chance to confirm the nomination. Short spends months in Paris living out of his own pocket, struggling to placate Russian ministers, all the while unable to conduct official business. Finally, the Senate rejects Short’s nomination. He is left poor, lost abroad, and at the mercy of angry Russians.  These feelings are the very same that fraternity brothers attempt to inculcate in their pledges today. Vodka has overtime come to replace the presence of actual Russians.

             #Fratlyfe- So William Short, ruined and embarrassed, returns to America and decides to put diplomacy behind him. Once home, he decides to do something no Virginian has ever done, he spends less than his income and invests the rest of this money, eventually making millions (unlike those GDIs Jefferson and Madison who died in overwhelming debt). Short would live in affluence until his death in 1849. He died at 90, but not before returning to William & Mary. There, he partnered with signer of the Declaration, Benjamin Rush. The two drafted a process by which members would be initiated into Pi Beta Kappa that was largely based on the events of Short’s life that most contributed to his later successes. Short would pass away just as his final plan was set in motion, leaving Benjamin Rush with all the credit (including the processes’ namesake). Today, we owe everything to William Short. Although he never got the position of Minister to France, no one could argue that the title of Original FratStar is his and his alone. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Most Talented American: A Story of Jefferson's Tutelage

When we think of the most talented American I think many of us think of Thomas Jefferson. He birthed a University, literally. He wrote the Declaration of Independence. He designed the Virginia Capitol Building. His talents were innumerable. That being said we simply need to look to Jefferson's own words to see who he believes is the most talented American.

'Ya'll know that valuablest talent is never using two words fer one.'
     -Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Jeffery Foxnotworthy 1803

Jeffery took this letter and posted it about his computer as soon as it was delivered by the Pony Express. When we found it we realized that he only posted the redacted version as it just said 'Ya'll know. -T. Jizzle

It was at this point that Jeffery decided to create a dictionary showcasing his talents. This dictionary is still in use today and is utilized to make the English language more efficient and productive to the people of the world. We've included several examples below:

Jeetyet = Did you eat yet?
Yonto = Do you want to?

Person 1: I'm hungry, jeetyet?
Person 2: Naw, yonto?

Juanita = we're going to need
Retina = right now

Juanit another six pack of beer, so ya'll get your butts over here retina.

Courtesy = care to see
Hey Jim, courtesy my new pick up?

Usurp = use syrup

Person one: Hey, would you like to use some jam on your pancakes?
Person 2: Nah, I'll usurp.

Wigeon: which one
I got a bud and a coors wigeon you want?

Cadillacs = caddy lacks
My cadillacs the discipline needed to be a good golfer.

Mayonnaise = man there is
Mayonnaise a lot of people up here at this party.

Often we think that Jefferson's majorest contribution to the UnitedStates is the Declaration of Independence. If we take uneven broader view of his motivating Mr. Foxnotunworthy we can see that he helped create an English language that is more efficient and useful to all people. Thank ya Mr. Jefferson. Thank ya.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Kidnapping in the White House?! In 1833?


We have a shocker for you history buffs today - the Lost and Founders recently uncovered evidence that suggests former President Martin Van Buren actually began his term as Vice President to Andrew Jackson in 1833 under duress.

Martin Van Buren, nick-named as a child "The Van Urinator," was a misunderstood man who cam from humble beginnings. Born in New York in 1782 to a wealthy Dutch family, Martin grew up speaking Dutch and according to sources was actually not very good at English. Despite his sheer brilliance in the political arena when he ventured into the realm of politics as a young man in his 30's while attempting to help found the Democratic Party, he initially struggled to gain support from his peers because of his thick accent and tendency to slip into Dutch when nervous or excited. In fact, many members of Congress, including the then-current president John Quincy Adams, were convinced that Van Buren was actually a Dutch spy.

For this reason, President Adams wrote a little-known letter to his successor Andrew Jackson upon leaving office, warning him of potential treachery:

"...keep your friends close and your enemies closer. By this I mean that wily Van Buren gentleman, for he is surely an agent of the Queen or King or whatever they have in the Netherlands."

- J.Q. Adams, 1832.

Andrew Jackson was not a man to take threats lightly. Recent accounts that have come to light now lead us to believe that as a result of this letter, Jackson's supporters kidnapped Van Buren from his New York estate and held him captive for the next several years. During that time, Jackson appointed Van Buren as his Vice President in order to keep an eye on him (Jackson was usually very clever, though this particular scheme was not among his most impressive).

Van Buren served under Jackson for the entirety of his four year term; all while being instructed in proper English and being watched carefully. Despite his failings, he flourished as a VP and was considered by many to be one of the most shrewd politicians of his day. Each night, Jackson would put him to bed saying, "Good work today Martin, I'll most likely kill you in the morning." He never did though, and over the years they became good friends and close confidants, and Van Buren learned much about the ways of pirating and diplomacy from his captor.

At the end of Jackson's term, he is on record as having pulled Van Buren aside and explained his desire for Van Buren to succeed him. He stated that he was mostly sure that Van Buren was probably not a Dutch spy, and that at any rate he was the only man the paranoid Jackson trusted to lead the nation into its next great years. Van Buren, whether under the effects of patriotism or Stockholm Syndrome we will never know for sure, accepted and ran for President with the support of Jackson, ensuring his victory and four years of glory for the United States of America.

Shockingly, Van Buren's tenure was largely considered a failure, ending with the Panic of 1837 for which he was used as a scapegoat and given the new nickname of "Martin Van Ruin."

You can't make this stuff up. History really is stranger than fiction.

Have a good weekend!
The Lost and Founders