America wouldn't be America without the Founding Fathers, but did they have a little bit of fun on the side?
America was founded in 1776 by a group of leaders who united and created a new form of government, that would then go on to initiate the revolutionary War and fight for America's independence from the reigns of Great Britain. That group of leaders was known as the Founding Fathers of America, and they went on to create many of the documents which continue to shape America to this day.
The Founding Fathers had the incredible foresight and capabilities to not only overthrow the world's primary superpower but to also create a long-term, sustainable vision for how their country would look in the decades to come, eventually turning America into a superpower itself. Now, America largely considered the world's final remaining superpower.
As incredible as their resumes and legacies are, there is, however, one question that persists surrounding the Founding Fathers:
Did the Founding Fathers smoke weed?
Let's find out more about the Founding Fathers and whether or not they liked to spark up a bit of the good stuff.
Who Were The Founding Fathers?
The Founding Fathers of America were a group of individuals who coalesced around the common goal of separating from Great Britain. Many of the Founding Fathers were from a diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds, and some even lacked political experience entirely.
The term "Founding Fathers" is often used to describe different groups. Some refer to those 39 signers that signed the Declaration of Independence, though more commonly, the Founding Fathers are considered to be seven men: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.
These seven men are primarily given the title of Founding Fathers due to their formative roles in shaping the United States as it exists today. Together, they played crucial roles in developing the Declaration of Independence and the Federalist Papers, leading the Revolutionary war and ultimately, creating the Constitution. These events and documents helped create the bedrock for a nation that provides "inalienable" rights to the individual, as is "endowed by their creator," rendering all men to be "created equal."
But what about weed? Was the idea for emancipation from Great Britain sparked by a spliff?
Did the Founding Fathers Smoke Weed?
Interestingly, the question of whether or not the Founding Fathers smoked weed is a common one. This is predominantly due to the Founding Fathers' affinity for hemp plants, which are, of course, a cousin to marijuana.
This involvement with hemp included Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and James Madison who each cultivated hemp plants themselves. However, this wasn't entirely out of the ordinary, as some Americans were encouraged to grow hemp during the early Republic due to the plants' bountiful industrial value in constructing clothing and fabrics.
Though the Founding Fathers did certainly appreciate the benefits that hemp had to offer, as Thomas Jefferson received the United States' first patent for a hemp threshing machine, and in 1794, George Washington wrote in his diary: "I am very glad to hear that the Gardener has saved so much of the St. foin seed, and that of the India Hemp."
"Make the most you can of both, by sowing them again in drills. . . Let the ground be well prepared, and the Seed be sown in April. The hemp may be sown anywhere."
"The hemp may be sown anywhere."
Though among all these truths surrounding the Founding Fathers and their relationship to hemp, there has been a lot of misinformation.
Many have claimed that the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper, which is false. The truth is still quite interesting, in that it is believed the first few drafts of the Declaration were indeed written on hemp paper as it was a common form of paper during the time. Though the Declaration of Independence itself was written on parchment made from animal skin.
Additionally, there is a quote floating around, that hemp is "of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country," which has been falsely attributed to Jefferson. While this quote was real, it instead belonged to Governor Morris, a fellow Founding Father who said the statement in a letter to Thomas Jefferson to reiterate the benefits of the hemp plant.
Moreover, even if we grant a lot of these hemp falsehoods to be true, it doesn't confirm that the Founding Fathers were into smoking weed. Hemp plants don't contain high enough amounts of THC to get users stoned, and there is no evidence that the Founding Fathers liked to partake in smoking marijuana.
In conclusion, while the hemp plant is literally woven into some parts of America's history, it doesn't look like the Founding Fathers were rolling joints and looking at the stars in their spare time.
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