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  • Hi, I’m John Green, and welcome to my salon This is Mental Floss on Youtube.

  • And did you know that before Benjamin Franklin was on money, he printed money?

  • He started this career as a printer and went on to own a press that made all the money for colonial Delaware and Pennsylvania.

  • He also had a strange method for deterring counterfeiters: He spelledPennsylvaniaincorrectly on all of his money.

  • That way, when counterfeiters copied the bills, they thought they were working from a fake version

  • and would correct the spelling, and then Franklin could catch them.

  • Those are just two of the many amazing facts about the American Founding Fathers

  • that I’m going to share with you today in this video presented by our friends at History.

  • So everyone knows about Paul Revere’s famous ride, but did you know it included a monumental DY?

  • In order to get to Lexington to one of these impending British invasions, Revere had to travel through Medford, the rum capital of America.

  • He stopped long enough to get suitably drunk.

  • And then the stealthy ride that Revere had intended turned into a loud and drunken rampage.

  • In fact, he was so rowdy that patrolling Redcoats detained him for an hour before letting him go.

  • Of course, by then he had made enough of a racket to let everyone know that trouble was brewing.

  • And speaking of brewing, one of the men Revere was on a mission to find and alert was Samuel Adams,

  • who worked in his father’s malt house as a maltster.

  • His name is now synonymous with the beer, of course, but that’s not really Sam Adam’s face on the label.

  • Poor Samuel wasn’t known for his good looks, so a rumor spread that

  • the Boston brewery used handsomer Paul Revere’s portrait for their logo.

  • But technically, it is a picture of Sam Adams, just a very, very flattering one, like multiple Instagram filters.

  • The other person Revere was trying to track down during his drunken ride was John Hancock,

  • best known for his, you know, “John Hancock”, his huge and ornate signature.

  • But his signature on the Declaration of Independence was actually kept secret for months after the signing

  • because all of the signatures were, out of fear for the signer’s safety.

  • Hancock’s successor as the President of the Continental Congress was South Carolina’s Henry Laurens,

  • a man who serves as an example of why the termFounding Fathersshouldn’t be synonymous withgreat people.”

  • For one thing, Laurens got rich and powerful because he was a partner in North America’s largest slave-trading house.

  • After Laurens, John Jay became President of the Continental Congress, and he was strong opponent of slavery.

  • He actually introduced legislation to abolish slavery in New York as early as 1777.

  • Jay was in fact so popular that he was nominated and elected into office twice, without his knowledge.

  • The first time was in 1784, when he returned from Europe after negotiating the Treaty of Paris.

  • And upon coming home, found out that Congress had named him Secretary of Foreign Affairs, a job he would come to hate.

  • Later, while Jay was serving as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1794,

  • President George Washington sent him to London to negotiate yet another peace treaty.

  • And when Jay came back from that trip, he found that he had been elected Governor of New York. Surprise!

  • Speaking of surprises, you may be shocked to hear that Ben Franklin was an expert swimmer.

  • Is there anything he wasn’t good at? As a child, he loved swimming in Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River

  • and went on to consider opening schools for young runners and swimmers before going on to do, you know, essentially everything else.

  • And to be a proper polymath you must, of course, sleep very little.

  • Franklin reportedly awoke at 5 in the morning every day and didn’t go to bed until 1 a.m.

  • That said, Ben Franklin was a big fan of convenience, and even laziness.

  • like, for instance, he invented a mechanical arm to retrieve shelved books

  • and a system where he could unlock his door from bed by activating a pulley.

  • Moving on to another Benjamin, Benjamin Rush was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and he was also a physician,

  • today known as the first doctor to believe that mental illness was a disease and not something to be blamed on demons.

  • As the so-calledFather of American Psychiatry,” Dr. Rush paved the way for the humane treatment of the mentally-ill,

  • but not all of his treatments would be consideredhumaneby today’s standards.

  • For instance, he was a strong believer in blood purging, although back then, who wasn’t?

  • And he also strapped some of his patients to spinning boards to force their blood flow outwards.

  • He also invented theTranquilizing Chair,” a device that seems like it would be the opposite of tranquilizing.

  • To achievetranquilization,” the patient would be strapped into a seat and immobilized before having a box placed on their head to deprive their senses.

  • Boy, would I rather vacation on the beach or in the tranquilizing box? I can’t decide.

  • Anyway, Rush was friends with both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and knew them well during their famous and heated feuds.

  • One night, the doctor had a dream about his friends in which they reconciled their differences.

  • He wrote Adams and Jefferson to tell them all about it,

  • and his dream became a self-fulfilling prophesy as the two statesmen reached out to talk to each other about it

  • and wound up renewing their friendship. And then they died on the same day. It’s very cute.

  • Not only was it the same day, Jefferson and Adams both died on July 4,

  • exactly 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

  • Adams and Jefferson were also linked by their shared love of pets.

  • Jefferson had two pet grizzly bear cubs and Adams had a dog named Satan.

  • Now Satan is a weird name for a dog, but George Washington might take the cake when it comes to our founding fatherspet-naming skills

  • Three of our first president’s dogs were named Drunkard, Mopsey, and Sweetlips.

  • Alright, I hereby christen you Mopsey, youre Sweetlips. Elephant, youre Drunkard.

  • I will remind you, these are the dudes that we are still looking up to 230 years later.

  • Were still like, “but what would the owner of Sweetlips say about this?”

  • Ben Franklin’s fellow founding fathers didn’t want him to draft the Declaration of Independence

  • because they were worried he might try to sneak a joke into it.

  • They clearly were familiar with his work, like the time that he wrote the Royal Academy,

  • asking them to find a way to make his farts stop smelling.

  • Franklin lied that letter enough to sign it under his own name,

  • but he wrote many essays, books, and more under a whole slew of pseudonyms.

  • They including Richard Saunders, Silence Dogood, Anthony Afterwit, Polly Baker, Alice Addertongue, Busy Body, Benevolous, Caelia Shortface and Martha Careful.

  • The last two were used by Franklin to make fun of Samuel Keimer, his former employer whom he accused of stealing his ideas.

  • Ben Franklin was many things: brilliant, ambitions, incredibly hardworking, astonishingly petty.

  • But he also coined many of the electricity-related terms we use today, includingbattery,” “conductor,” andelectrician.”

  • And finally, I return to my salon to tell you that Ben Franklin was also prolific when it came to alcohol.

  • In 1737, Franklin published a list of over 200 synonyms forgetting drunk.”

  • Thanks for watching Mental Floss on YouTube, which is made with the help of all these nice people

  • and was made possible by our friends at History. Be sure to check out their new series, Sons of Liberty.

  • And as we say in my hometown, don’t forget to be awesome.

Hi, I’m John Green, and welcome to my salon This is Mental Floss on Youtube.

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