Our founding fathers were a muddled group, and the sex lives of our founding fathers make them much all the more so. The general public is fixated on sex in such a variety of ways, but seldom do we take the opportunity to truly consider why that is and how it impacts our perspective on both our past and present. We tend to put the founding fathers of American Democracy on a pedestal, as though they weren't people with the same needs and flaws as the rest of us. Overall, while they all had their scandals, they're not any worse than what we see in today's politicians. The sex lives of our founding fathers may have been scandalous in their time, but they're fairly run of the mill today.
Apparently, Clinton wasn't first government official to express remorse for taking part in extramarital affairs. Much of what we know about Hamilton's undertaking with a married woman comes from a letter of his own writing. And it didn't keep him from making it onto the $10 bill. Hamilton's side of the story asserted that the woman seduced him by coming to him asking for help. One thing led to another, and her husband began to use the affair as a means to coerce cash from Hamilton.
Ultimately he told the truth to demonstrate his innocence in related charges of using Federal money for the payments. After he was shot to death by the sitting Vice President, Aaron Burr, in a duel, he rapidly rose in the public's esteem. The woman, Maria Reynolds, was turned into a trashy working class woman by propaganda, while Hamilton became her victim. Times have certainly changed. There are few out there who would remember Clinton as a hero, seduced and taken advantage of by a "working class" Lewinsky.
The sex lives of our founding fathers were rife with those who were actual victims of cheating as well. John and Abigail Adams are known as the power couple of the American Revolution. John has been portrayed as the perfect spouse and an excellent man. He considered Alexander Hamilton a "bastard brat" and was quite noisy about how sleazy he thought the French were. His marriage, from afar, looked perfect.
He spent much of the marriage far from his wife. That is the means by which we know they cherished each other. They frequently wrote to one another while they were separated, and the letters show a loving couple. However, there were many times that he returned to Massachusetts and didn't go home to see Abigail. Perhaps this is because, while he was away, she had a passionate affair, causing many fights about the distance in their marriage.
Americans have been curious about Ben Franklin's sexual ventures for quite some time. He expounded on several of his bad-boy escapades in his memoirs, clarifying why he left Boston. He fled an apprenticeship in Boston by boarding a boat to Philadelphia because he got a woman pregnant. He likewise said that he lamented never wedding his customary law spouse.
This lack of official marriage and a child from a non-conjugal union before his marriage, in the long run, turned into disgrace for him. While Franklin was an imperial legislative head of New Jersey and played an integral part in the American Revolution and the creation of the Constitution. In the 19th century, internationally celebrated suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton contended that Franklin ought not to be regarded as an accomplished American since his biography was an attack against women.
Was George Washington sterile? Nobody actually knows the definitive answer. What we do know is that he never fathered any children with his wife, Martha. He was frequently pictured with children, but they were Martha's from a previous marriage. While he certainly acted as a father to these children, over the centuries some have questioned why he never had a biological child of his own. However, nobody assumed he was sterile back when he was leading charges against the British. These inquiries are more recent in nature.
Some have speculated that it was a symptom of cheating. After the war, stories spread that he was sterile due to an injury he received when sneaking out of the window of a married woman with no pants on. The most widely accepted theory, however, is that he became sterile as the effect of an illness, probably tuberculosis.
While many have not heard of Gouverneur Morris, composed and altered a large part of the Constitution. He represented Pennsylvania in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and is largely considered the author of both the preamble and closing endorsement. Morris was single until the age of fifty-seven, and he had a great deal of sex during this period of his life.
He expounded on his escapades in his own journals. He was bold about it, not writing in code, as many early Americans did when it came to intimate matters. A majority of his escapades occurred while he was serving as an ambassador for the new country before and throughout the French Revolution. His main lover was a married woman who lived in The Louvre, before it became a museum. In those days it housed individuals near the King. It seems they both had a love of exhibitionism. In one journal passage, he writes “Go to the Louvre... we take the chance of interruption and celebrate in the passage while [Mademoiselle] is at the harpsichord in the drawing room. The husband is below. Visitors are hourly expected. The doors are all open.”
Thomas Jefferson is among the most controversial sex lives of our founding fathers. It is widely believed that he was the father of the children of Sally Hemings, a slave on his estate. We do not know much of their relationship, as there are no journal writings or letters from either party mentioning their affair. Some have claimed that the tales about Jefferson and Hemings are simply designed to discredit his great name.
What we do know is that Jefferson purchased gifts for her while they were both living in Paris. While some speculate that Jefferson fell in love with Hemings, leading to the affair, Hemings' child referred to his mother as Jefferson's "concubine," which would indicate a far less amorous relationship. History has chosen to romanticize the tale, with films showing the two as lovers in a time where society would not allow them to be openly together.
James Buchanan was the fifteenth President and likely our first gay one. Not only did Senator William Rufus King claim he was having an unsanctioned romance with Buchanan, they went to parties together and King even moved into the White House with him. It wasn't the greatest kept secret. Numerous individuals, including Andrew Jackson, named the twosome "Aunt Fancy" and "Miss Nancy" 19th century slang for gay men. Maybe that is the reason James stayed single his entire presidency.