In celebration of Founding Father’s Day, I thought I’d share a few epic misconceptions and misperceptions surrounding our nation’s early history. Special shout out to my homey, Ray Raphael and his fly book, Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past.
The legend of Paul Revere’s Ride was invented by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1861 and he got most of the story wrong.
The cruel, cold Winter at Valley Forge in 1777 was milder than normal and contrary to stories about the “brave soldiers sacrificing for their cause”, mutinous uprisings became a real problem for General Washington; the Newburg Conspiracy being one example.
Thomas Jefferson copped the ideas for the Declaration of Independence almost directly from George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights. Most high school English teachers would have nailed that punk for plagiarism.
Patrick Henry’s line, “Give me liberty or give me death!” was written thirty years after his famous speech by William Wirt who was not present when the words we’re supposedly spoken. Wirt could not find anyone that was there when Henry spoke.
I’m not even going to touch the “Christian Nation” myth. We’ll leave that for another day. Now go out there and celebrate our nation’s lies with good deals on cars and mattresses. It’s what Abe would have wanted.